British people are renowned worldwide for being polite, apologising in case it was our fault when someone else bumps in to us, not answering our phone on the bus to avoid disturbing other passengers. Most people can think of a time they have been excessively polite… right?
Well it is that time of year for confrontation-avoiding politeness to reign supreme. Christmas presents can be a minefield, that surprise item you never knew you needed (and still don’t) or that awkwardness when you realise how much more thought the other person put into their gift.
But who really does anything other than act surprised, feign happiness and express their gratitude? Not me! Like it or not I am the happiest person with all gifts as anything else would simply be rude.
Could this be counter-productive? What if the person thinks you really like that perfume and gets you more next year, when all you will do is try and freshen your partner’s running shoes with it?
Are you going to end up as the warehouse for the local charity shop in the first week of January? Sorting out what you don’t even think is worth listing on eBay?
What if we were all honest about the gifts we received? Obviously it is important to be grateful, this is a first world problem and it is the thought that counts after all. But a little honestly could prevent money being wasted and the embarrassing excitement over the same socks each year.
If you are too polite to be truly honest about the gifts you have received, try sending an honest thank you card instead. I remember as a child writing my thank you letters and always saying how I had used/played with/enjoyed the gift, even if they were there when I opened it.
What if you told people what you really thought and what you really did with the present? Well, some people might welcome the honesty or even make a joke of it, but total honesty isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. With that in mind, we recommend continuing polite British tradition, as we don’t want to be responsible for an ever-lasting family feud!
But we know what you’re really thinking…