Fact: Your great-aunt Mary doesn’t know what you want for Christmas. In truth, until she saw you cracking into the bubbles on Christmas Eve she was under the impression you were still 14 years old.
No, you’re not allowed to be a wang about it.
Stage 1: Immediately after unwrapping.
Say a sincere “thank you”. You don’t have to say you love it or start moving your money from your wallet into your new purse. Just say thanks. Throw in a hug if you’re feelin’ it. Appreciate the time and effort that went into the present, even if you’re relatively certain that that your cousin Alice just regifted the candles you gave her last year back to you and bragged about how expensive they were.
This rule doesn’t just apply to distant relatives. If your significant other gets you something you CAN’T EVEN BELIEVE THEY WOULD THINK YOU’D LIKE, suck it up. Christmas the time for forgiveness.
Stage 2: As the day wears on.
Don’t be the sort of douche canoe who immediately starts asking about the possibility of exchange, fails to say a perfunctory word of thanks or talks loudly about the WAY BETTER present they got from someone else.
Feelings will be hurt.
Families will be torn apart.
Stage 3: When you’re getting a bit tipsy and indignant.
Remember that there’s no rule saying you have to love every present you get this Christmas. Your “right” to the Marc Jacobs handbag you’ve being coveting and dropping hints about since June is imaginary and everyone at the table wants to push your head into a plate of stuffing when you bring it up.
Stage 4: Boxing Day.
Throw your presents in the bin as soon as you get home if you like. Explore your exchange options to your heart’s content. Maybe even pack up some of the stuff you hate and donate it to a charity for families who didn’t get anything for Christmas at all. (Does that thought pierce your cold, ungrateful heart like a knife? It should.)
Stage 5: Always.
Don’t be an ungrateful prick. Gift-giving isn’t compulsory on Christmas, but kindness is.
Did you get anything that required this advice today?