The Truth About Gifts

20 Dec

So I feel like I’ve been talking a lot about presents lately, and I’m sorry.  But, it’s almost Christmas, so this will soon be over.  Anyway, I’m really impatient when it comes to most things.  This is a trait that’s not so endearing, and when it comes to giving gifts I’m impatient about that too.  Meaning that if I buy someone a gift and I see them before Christmas, I’m probably going to make them open it.  I get so excited about seeing them open something I hope they’ll like that I just can’t wait.   And, the same is true if they have a gift for me before Christmas and I know about it.  I REALLY want to open it.   So basically this is my long way of saying that Sean and I already exchanged presents because I couldn’t wait–both to give and receive. 

He was super excited about his guitar.  He immediately started playing it, and I think I’ve heard it everyday since.  I’m not complaining either.  I love to see him enjoying what I got him.  So then it was time for me to open mine.  I had no idea what it was. 

Well, I rip open the package and pull out a little necklace.  Oh, and we had a budget for presents this year, and I knew he’d spent close to the maximum of our budget for this necklace.  Now, here’s a backstory…I had this little dainty gold heart necklace that I loved.  I wore it almost everyday and I recently lost it.  I’ve been going on and on about this necklace.  I knew this was Sean’s way of replacing it.  He even wrote a little note to say how he hoped this heart necklace would be my new favorite.   It was so sweet. 

But, I knew it wasn’t going to be my favorite.  And, in a span of about 3 seconds I either had to feign joy over my new necklace, or tell him the truth and risk hurting his feelings.   I knew that he was trying SO hard to pick out something I liked, but I didn’t like it.  I also knew that he’d spent a decent amount of money.  Ugh.  I decided to be honest and tell him that although it was pretty, it wasn’t really my style.  I felt awful about it.  He seemed upset at first, but then he told me that he understood and would prefer for me to have something that I like.  Phew! 

Although I felt really bad telling him I didn’t like what he picked out, I was so glad that I was honest.  What do you do when someone gives you a gift that isn’t your ideal?  Are you honest, or do you act like you love it?

15 Responses to “The Truth About Gifts”

  1. Carrie @ The Silver Lining 12/20/2010 at 10:50 pm #

    Oh no, I haaaaate when that happens. Ken and I have had several incidents over the years where I knew he had tried really really hard to pick out something perfect, and was super excited about it, and spent a pretty solid amount of money on it–and it just missed the mark. It’s the WORST feeling! I’ve always done what you did, though….I think it’s better to just admit that it’s not quite right. After all, you can’t pretend to LOVE something forever, and they’ll figure it out eventually!

  2. Cathleya 12/21/2010 at 1:23 am #

    I look back on the old me feeling a little bad but also realizing that it worked…

    I used to be REALLY blunt about gifts. What I liked, what I intended to return. Growing up, this was how my family was, and it didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings…we were all on board with the “you should get exactly what you want!” mantra. We also didn’t spend too much time looking for gifts for each other, knowing if it wasn’t what the giftee wanted, the receipt would be attached.

    My husband’s family is NOT like this. They take the time to shop for gifts, and the unwritten rule is that you pretend to love it even if you just kind of like it or don’t really like it. I didn’t know this. So the first christmas I went home with my husband, his mom gave him all these clothes and (of course, not in front of her but in front of his sister) I was like, “OK, you can return this, this, this, this…” and my husband’s sister was like, “wow! That’s so mean…my mom shopped a long time for that stuff!”

    She was totally right, of course! I was being so rude…but that was kind of how it was in my house growing up! Now I would never say anything like that about any gifts, but his family (and he himself) knows that I am the kind of person that will probably return things I don’t like, so they’re always making sure receipts are included. I guess we’ve all kind of bent to each other and the ways that we’ve been raised differently!

    Anyway all this to say that I would have probably returned the necklace, but only if I was confident that my husband didn’t care that much…and I know in the end, much like your husband, mine would want me to have something I wore all the time. If I SORT of liked it (as in, didn’t hate it) I would have probably kept the one he gave me, just for the sentiment!

    • kelsey@mintedlife 12/21/2010 at 8:01 pm #

      We are much the same way in my family. We make lists every year so that we all get exactly what we want. There isn’t a lot of surprise really, other than which item off your list you’ll actually receive, but I like it that way. It eases my anxiety about potentially not liking a gift!

  3. marasimon 12/21/2010 at 7:29 am #

    I’m mega-weird about presents and I def would’ve done the same thing you did (and felt really badly, just like you did.)
    It’s hard but it doesn’t make sense for someone to waste their money on something you don’t like and won’t use! That’s my philosophy, anyways…

  4. Terri 12/21/2010 at 7:59 am #

    Good for you for being honest! I think I would rather tell J that I didn’t like something instead of him wondering five months later why I never wear that not cheap piece of jewelry he bought me. I’ve been pretty lucky so far that he is great at picking things out for me. Anyway, way to communicate. Maybe now you can pick something out together?

    • kelsey@mintedlife 12/21/2010 at 8:02 pm #

      Agree. We did that with my engagement ring, I think he just wants to get it right so bad. And, in the past he has, this time it just fell a little short.

  5. Abby 12/21/2010 at 9:21 am #

    I think you did the right thing — as others have said, it’s better to come clean and then be able to get something that you really love! Part of the reason J took me with him ring shopping was because he wanted me to absolutely love my ring. It took some of the “surprise” out of getting engaged, but you know what? I really, really love my ring and I’m so glad we went that route.

    I hope that you find a new “favorite” necklace! 🙂

  6. Mina 12/21/2010 at 11:02 am #

    i think what you did makes total sense. and kudos to sean for being so thoughtful and mature about the whole thing!

  7. Nikki 12/21/2010 at 11:59 am #

    OMG!! OK, so last year all I wanted was a Tiffany key necklace. I picked out the one I wanted (which was like $150, which I know is a lot but that was the ONLY thing I wanted). I tore out ads and hid them around our apartment, sent him the link to the one I wanted, etc. Christmas morning came and I opened my gift. It was not in a little blue box. It was a key necklace but not the Tiffany one. It was HOLLOW on the other side. It was like a knock off version!! I was heart broken. I pretended like I liked it, and then ended up crying a lot. It is still in its ugly little silver box. I can’t even stand to look at it a year later. And I couldn’t return it because my hubs had them change the stone in it. I know I sound like a brat… but that was all I got and it was really really ugly. Maybe I should take a pic and blog about it. It was bad.
    Anyways, I’m glad you told him. Now you can get something you love! At least you know he put some thought into it!

    • kelsey@mintedlife 12/21/2010 at 8:02 pm #

      Aww, I’m so sorry! I definitely have done that in the past, and I’ve finally learned!

  8. Amy 12/21/2010 at 9:53 pm #

    I often want to return things people give me as gifts. Or I appreciate the sentiment but for one reason or another I don’t need the item or want it. If it’s from the hubs and I know he spent a decent amount of money on it, I’ll be honest. I’ve done that for a couple birthday gifts 😉 and they’re usually jewelry that’s not my taste! One time he got me a white noise machine because I had trouble sleeping when I first moved to NYC and it kept me up more than anything else. He does comment on how I never use it…4 years later. Hahaha. So for most things, I’d rather be honest especially with him.

  9. serena @bigapplenosh 12/22/2010 at 11:23 am #

    I’d like to say I’m honest about gifts, but I dread hurting people’s feelings, so I usually just pretend I like it…

  10. Kate 12/22/2010 at 9:19 pm #

    What a tough question. I think I would be honest with my hubs but unfortunately this happens a LOT with my family and I usually just pretend I like it. I’ve suffered from many “almost” perfect gifts. Eh well.

  11. Megan 12/31/2010 at 3:27 pm #

    Okay I know this is really late but I’ve been saving this as unread in my reader so I could come back and comment when I was finally back at my computer, ha!

    I’m so glad you said something! I totally understand how you felt because I actually had to tell Dave I didn’t like the engagement ring he bought at first (he showed it to me before he proposed, thankfully). It was so close to what I’d wanted and it was clear he’d worked so hard to find it, but I just honestly couldn’t wear it every day and not be a little uncomfortable that I didn’t love it. As you said with Sean, he was upset at first, but he pretty quickly decided he’d much rather I be happy with it than lie just to make him feel better about the ring! I agree with Kate though, I might have trouble telling a family member I didn’t like a gift, but I think husband would understand. As long as one is considerate in how you tell them, obviously! Plus I think it’s awesome that you got a DSLR instead – can’t wait to see some photos from it! 🙂


  1. Christmas Love « Minted Life - 12/26/2010

    […] got a camera too.   We returned the necklace, and got this […]

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