How to Hint at Holiday Gifts (Without Being a Jerk)

It's never too early to make sure you don't receive another gift that collects dust in your closet.

Richie Frieman
5-minute read
Episode #358

Tact is defined as a keen sense of what to say or do to avoid offending someone—a necessary skill in dealing with difficult or delicate situations. Looking at that definition, an important phrase is “delicate situations,” because a holiday gift is always a touchy topic. However, to tactfully pull off asking for the gift you want, use some of these buzz phrases:

  • “Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a new ______ like this for the living room?”
  • Did you see that ______ that so-and-so wore to dinner? I wonder if they have in red? It matches my jacket perfectly.”
  • Did you like that _______ we saw at the store yesterday for the dining room? I thought it was so beautiful. I wonder how long they’ll be out for? I hope they don’t sell out soon.”

Granted you’ll have to do your own crafting, but using these terms in conversation will ask politely for the gift without demanding it. These tactics will make someone see the purchase as a joint decision.

Tip #3: A Hint Trail

In 3 Tips for NOT Being a Bad Gift Giver, I outlined how people can get a reputation for gift giving because they aren’t aware of what the gift recipient wants.  But sometimes we have to lead a horse to drink, so to speak. In this case, we actually have to lead the horse to drink, point and say, “Look, it’s water! Right there. Right in front of you!” to ensure they purchase the gift of your dreams. However, a mannerly person doesn’t force anyone to buy a present for them, especially for the holidays … even though we so flippin’ badly want them to finally get it right! One way to make sure they find their way to the ravine is to leave a trail of signs along the way. Yes, signs.

Let’s not give up so quick on all the poor gift givers out there, Mannerly Nation. As I’ve mentioned already we have in our minds what we want, and we probably come across it online or in magazines. In fact, we’ve all had that one gift that we want so badly we think about it all day. So, why not use that to your advantage? Try leaving a magazine ad cut out on your desk for your partner to see. Or, use social media to your advantage but adding it to your Facebook wall with the message, “Is this not the coziest jacket you’ve seen all season? This would be great to ring in the holidays with.” Just post it on your wall as a general conversation, not targeting anyone specific. One Modern Manners Guy Twitter follower created a Pinterest board called, “Amazing Holiday Gifts” and added clothes, accessories, and other gift items. Here she may have not been saying, “Me, Me, Me! I want this!” but, I suggested in Tip #2, she tactfully used creative methods to make sure her ideas were noticed.

Now, if these tips don’t work, I need to know because we have to do another episode that’s even MORE direct. Good grief, bad gift givers.

As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.Reply all

Do you have any recent graduates in your circle, or perhaps someone who is looking to start a new career, check out my new book, Reply All…And Other Ways to Tank Your Careerfor great tips and advice on job success.

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