Well, Christmas is over (although I’ll keep my tree up as long as I can thankyouverymuch) and chances are you got at least one gift you plan to stick in your closet and never look at again. Maybe it was the 14th orange and green scarf knit by Aunt Mildred. (How does she not know that scarves make you feel as if you’re slowly being strangled?) Or the fruit cake from that sweet little lady at church. (How, exactly, did this abomination get to be a holiday tradition? Choking seems to be a theme here on this year’s bad gifts because that fruit cake is dry, dry, dry.)
The key to writing a gracious thank-you note for a gift you genuinely hate is to remember the thoughtfulness behind the gift. While the present itself may not hit the mark — really? a stapler? for Christmas? — the kindness involved in wrapping, mailing, and giving a gift is what it’s all about.
When you’re writing a thank-you note for a crappy gift, make sure the gift-giver feels appreciated and loved, without ever knowing that their gift is going to be 1) hidden 2) donated or 3) re-gifted. (Of course, re-gifting requires that you know someone who could actually use an orange and green scarf – a University of Miami fan, maybe?)
Here are a few phrases you can use:
• Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness in sending me (insert gift here).
• What a wonderful holiday surprise to open your gift!
• (for a handmade item) I’m honored that you took the time to knit that scarf/bake a fruit cake.
• It was nice to arrive home and find your gift on my doorstep. Thank you for being so kind during the holidays and always.
Focusing on the kind inspiration behind the gift, and not the gift itself, allows you to be genuinely grateful and appreciative as you pen your thank-you card.
It would also be a nice gesture if you included a photo (perhaps the best use for a selfie?) draped in the new scarf.
So we know you hate it, but in the interest of the holiday spirit, just be nice — and grateful.