I bet most of us in long-term relationships have had our Christmas gift hopes and dreams set on a romantic get away, cliché glittery piece of jewelry or a freaking puppy, and instead opened a weird tech gadget we don't want or care about (portable USB charging station anyone?) or a Groupon deal for Tempurpedic pillows. (Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?)
While it's technically not what Christmas is all about — you know, like giving (not getting), the birth of baby Jesus, etc. — it can be hard to hide disappointment when you had different expectations in your mind or had your hopes up for something else.
Here's what to do if you hate the gift your boyfriend got you for Christmas.
Step 1: Smile. Seriously.
Before you even take the bow off, start smiling JUST IN CASE. Plaster that puppy on and commit to showing some pearly whites, no matter what happens.
Smiling will give you something to do while your mind whirls from disappointment to shock to anger to confusion and back again.
Smile smile smile while you think think think.
Step 2: Memorize these go-to phrases to help you buy some time
By having a bank of words or sentences to pull out of Santa's bag, you can continue to stall while you think of what to do next. Practice these in the mirror, and in the wise words of my high school drama teacher Mrs. Schmiddle, COMMIT, BABY.
These catch phrases below are a great way to stay honest without being mean.
"You SHOULD. NOT. have!"
"You got this for me?!"
"I can't believe this!"
"OMG, I have this now!"
"You can use it, too!"
"You totally surprised me!"
Step 3: Ask the right questions
If you have no idea what the hell this gift is or why your SO got it for you, ask the right questions. This is an easy way to explain you don't really know what to do with it while still seeming interested in the item.
Ask things like, "Where is the best place to put it?" or "Is this something I can take to work?" or "Will you use it at all? Let's make sure you have access to it!"
Hopefully your SO follows up with some great explanation that makes the gift suddenly valuable to you. If not, repeat steps 1 and 2.
Step 4. Try it out at least once before deciding you hate it
Give the gift a chance. Maybe the Tempuredic pillows are, like, really comfy, or you find you're stuck in a Starbucks with no outlets and need to charge your phone, iPad, Kindle and camera all at the same time. If you use the gift and it's a success, TELL YOUR SO.
This will keep them from asking about it down the road, and maybe suggest to them you use it all the time.
Step 5: Remember why you love them (and see if you can find that thing about them in this gift)
If they got you something really practical and not romantic at all, is it because they are a strong and good provider who wants to make sure your life is efficient?
If they got you something boring or simple, is it because they don't need anything else in their life besides you?
Do your best digging based on who they are to get to the bottom of why they would choose this gift for you, and remember you love them for it.
If you can't think of one damn reason why they thought you would like this, repeat steps 1-4 until it's the New Year and hope they forget about 2016 entirely.
Overall, Christmas IS about giving (not getting), the birth of baby Jesus, etc. etc., and it's a magical time to be in love. If you're having serious doubts, buy them something awesome to demonstrate what a good gift looks like. It'll make YOU feel good and be a teaching moment for your personal mistletoe mate.
Happy gifting! Happy holidays! Happy sleep on that Tempurpedic pillow!