You Really Shouldn’t Have

Perfecting the art of the insincere thank you, and other tips on seasonal etiquette; ensuring you remain the perfect gent from Boxing Day, through to the New Year.

Giving and receiving presents is a very tricky art form, one that few of us are skilled at. It’s fine if you like what you’ve been given, but what happens if you don’t? We consulted the etiquette experts over at Debretts on how to deal with unwanted presents: “If the whole present-buying experience turns sour, don't punish the innocent recipient, thrusting the gift at them with bad grace. Grumpy giving will never elicit true gratitude, and rightly so. Re-gifting is a potential minefield.  Certainly, as the credit-crunch bites, recycling is to be applauded, but employ great caution.  Inspect presents minutely to ensure that there are no tell-tale signs that they are second-hand.  Then think very carefully about who gave them to you in the first place; there is a very real possibility that you will re-gift a present to the original giver or to someone who is intimately connected with them - this is a faux pas from which it is hard to recover. â€¨Keep your re-gifting to yourself.  Boasting about your recycling tendencies will make friends feel understandably nervous about the provenance of your presents, and it makes you look irredeemably cheap. Finally, be prepared.  Buy a few generic presents (alcohol, chocolates, and toiletries), wrap them, and keep them to hand.  With this mini-arsenal, you will be admirably well-equipped to deal with everyone's Christmas nightmare, the surprise present…”