Christmas is the season of giving, but we’ll be the first to admit that we rather enjoy the receiving too.
No matter our age, each year we still wake up earlier than one probably should on Christmas morning, eager to rush downstairs and unwrap what’s under the tree. But as we tear through the wrapping paper each year, we’re bound to find at least one present that isn’t quite to our tastes, no matter how good our families’ intentions. To help you get through the ordeal graciously, we’ve compiled some tips on what to do with bad gifts, and how to avoid them in the first place.
Observe good gift karma
The great law of karma preaches “as you sow, so shall you reap”, so it stands to reason that if you give well, you’ll receive well. Sometimes this is easier said than done, especially when it comes to buying gifts for distant relatives, your brother’s new partner, or colleagues with whom your conversation has never progressed much further than “Alright, mate”. We’ve already covered how to buy presents that will be appreciated in our Christmas by Numbers Gift Guide, but in case you need a brief refresher, here are our main tips: Go for quality, simplicity and timeless design. If you don’t know the person well enough, steer clear of jokey gifts that could cause offence. Opt instead for easy pleasers such as luxury socks or a silk pocket square. Finally, pray that your Uncle Wilfred is reading this guide.
Avoid getting a bad gift in the first place
When we were younger, writing a list for Santa required as much planning, skill and careful consideration as anything in adult life. But over the years the season becomes more about spending time with loved ones than receiving gifts (so our families keep telling us), meaning that Christmas lists fall out of favour. In truth, there’s no better way to get what you want than to ask for it, so if you’re not keen on putting pen to paper, it’s time to start dropping hints. Leave a browser window open on your favourite Grandad Shirt, or re-gram a picture of that Field Coat you’re so keen on. Try saying: “I really like those Sir Plus Nehru Jackets, if only someone would buy one for me,” within earshot of your loved ones. If they don’t pick up on your clues, a letter to Santa is your only option.
If all else fails... regift
Here at Sir Plus we’re big on recycling (check out our recycled cashmere hats and scarves), and isn’t that exactly what regifting is? Sometimes you’ll receive a gift that isn’t bad, per say, just not quite right for you, so it’s the ethical thing to do to repurpose it as a present for someone else (that’s what we tell ourselves, anyway).
Here are some quick rules for regifting:
- Don’t regift where you eat. If it was originally from a family member, give it to a colleague. If it was from a friend, don’t give it to someone in the same group. Basically, don’t get caught.
- Only regift if you think that the present will find a welcome home. Giving your nan a pair of boxer shorts, for example, isn’t the idea here.
- Have a lie ready for when the original gift-giver asks if you’re using the thing you’ve given away. For example: “I borrowed it to my brother”, “It’s at my partner’s house”, “The dog ate it”.