It takes tact to cope with a bad present

By Kathryn Powley

If you've ever found yourself on the receiving end of a thoughtless gift - like the woman who received a gigantic box of tampons from her (very-soon-to-be-ex-) boyfriend, or the modern sophisticated mum who got a tatty 1970s cookbook from her well-to-do mother-in-law - you'll know it hurts. You wonder "Don't they care?" and "What does it mean?"

Relationships Aotearoa national practice manager Jo-Ann Vivian advises putting the gift into the context of the entire relationship. If you feel hurt or offended by a gift, she says, take a step back, think about the entire relationship and ask yourself: "If I hadn't received this gift, would I still be upset?"

And if the answer is "Yes"?

"Then Christmas Day is probably not the time to tackle that issue. There are relationships that are tense and difficult for all of us. Sometimes the presents that are given and received in the spirit of that difficult relationship reflect it."

There tends to be an air of competition about Christmas gifts that puts stresses people but there could be another less hurtful explanation for your dodgy gift.

"There are some people with terrible taste in presents - it's not about you."

- Herald on Sunday

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