Pippa Hazlewood on Avoiding Disappointing Presents This Holiday Season

Pippa Hazlewood ’11
Opinions Editor 

Ugly sweaters, teeny bopper earrings, tribal African drums, hot pink unicorn figurines (with sparkles and feather boas): these are all things I’ve received over the years on holidays and birthdays. They all have the power to turn the happiest time of year into an awkward situation.

After recently celebrating my birthday, and returning every single one of my gifts, I can honestly say I’ve mastered the, “Oh My God! This is so cute! I’ll use it everyday!” routine, but at some point you have to come clean. Especially when we’re dealing with a snake skinned hooker tank top that would ‘look so good with that new panda themed headdress you got from grandma’.

Quite frankly, I’m not sure how enthusiastic of a reaction I can muster up, when my dad’s idea of the ultimate present is a few French novels he can help me interpret, to try and improve my French grade, while bringing the family together. And I mean with that kind of reasoning, it’s really thoughtful… however not on the top of every 15 year olds wish list.

In these situations it’s best to confess to the giver that it’s simply not for you. No matter how much the person says that they won’t mind if you hate it, there will always going to be some hurt feelings when you say their well thought out gift was actually a burning failure and you’re just going to use the money to buy music on iTunes.

Unless the person is a real cry baby (ahem, my sister) they won’t randomly slap you across the face, yell at you for being a ‘fake untrustworthy brat who doesn’t have the guts to tell them you don’t like it flat out’. But I mean, that only ever happens if the person is a real jerk, who said they wouldn’t take it personally, but clearly did. (Maddy, if you’re reading this…)

Anyways, these types of scenarios can be entirely avoided with a few simple tips about getting exactly what you want on the holidays. First off, write a wish list of things you want and don’t be afraid to draw diagrams. The more specific, the more likely you’ll get exactly what you want.

Even better, go down Williams-Sonoma and register yourself as a bride/groom to be. This way there is no chance your friends and family won’t get you that kitchen aide you’ve been dreaming about.

Another variation on the wish list tactic is to only put one thing down. Or at least put one thing down along with a few other extremes that you know you won’t get. For example, my wish list this year is simple, a pair of $800 boots (decoy), an archery court for my backyard (decoy), or a hedgehog. This way they’ll have to get you at least one thing on your list, and you can guarantee what it’ll be. Ever sine I was 9, I’ve worked every angle at getting a hedgehog, and this year it’s going to happen.

Finally there’s the “constantly nag your friends and family” strategy, something I do not recommend, seeing as it just bothers them and everyone around you. This is best left up to the 6 and 7 year olds who never made it to Disney world.

This will guarantee that your holidays won’t be filled with resentful gift givers and awkward times in the return aisle of Ikea.