Paul Danke, contributor
Receiving terrible gifts is a curse on the aloof. While some people can say “Thank you” and everyone believes them, we cursed kids from the back of the class can never seem to make people feel appreciated. Sure, the gifts suck, and believe me, they know the gifts suck. It’s your bad behavior: your sighs, your eye rolls, and your harrumphs that let your family off the hook for giving you such shitty, sucky gifts.
Follow these nine steps to avoid the passive aggressive minefield your family lays out for you every year for the holidays.
Step 1: Know you’re gonna hate it. Your family just does not get you and YOU know it. Use that. Set your expectations so comically low they can’t hurt your feelings.
Step 2: Just read the fucking card. It takes two seconds — and SMILE at the end.
Step 3: Open the gift with a beguiling interest, and NOTICE the wrap job. “The gift will have a hard time living up to the wrapping,” you say. They eat that shit up.
Step 4: Ask where the recycling is. An interest in keeping your family’s home clean is such a relief to the host, to know the work they did preparing for the event is well received and respected. A coy wink tossed to the host is not out of order.
Step 5: Open the gift. But before you do, in your mind’s eye transport yourself:
Neath the deck of a large sail boat bobbing in the Pacific Ocean,
you awaken from your hammock,
stepping groggily up the stairs to deck and there it is,
for the first time your eyes see,
magnificently over our sisters and brothers in Japan Mt Fuji.
Step 6: (a) If it’s an article of clothing, PUT IT ON. By the end of the night you should be wearing every article of clothing you were given. This is the only level of enthusiasm that will satiate the savage beasts of etiquette.
(b) If it’s a thing you can use, USE it immediately. If you cannot use it, try to use it and be a bit sad that you can’t.
Step 7: If it needs batteries and batteries are, as per usual, NOT included, be distraught. Show frustration that you cannot yet use this miraculous new gift. You’re either getting some free batteries or the priceless cache of a gift not yet fully delivered. Diabolical.
Step 8: HUG THEM unless they are disgusting creeps. (Family creeps love giving too nice gifts in exchange for some unspoken leverage, and FUCK THAT — you owe nothing.) Otherwise: cross the room to a hug-and-forearm hold and then with the head tilted just so, delicious, delicious eye contact (DOMINANCE) and a “Thank you.” They feel appreciated but confused, “The gift wasn’t THAT good was it?” They doubt themselves, but not you. You own them now.
And that’s it.
This shouldn’t be a problem for you. After all, you are a fucking psychopath.
Step 9: Donate some toys to the fire station. Lots of kids don’t get anything EVER and life is hard as shit, so go forth and help a kid’s life actually not suck, you whiny ungrateful ass hat. Your family loves you. (Maybe they don’t, I don’t know them.)