“Thanks, I Love It…’: Experts reveal how to act surprised and grateful when it comes to unexpected Christmas gifts

Last updated: December 6th, 2023 Published on: December 8, 2021

We all know the feeling of being sat on the sofa in front of the Christmas tree first thing in the morning with friends or family and having to open presents with the eyes of the room focused on you.

You tear open the present, discard the wrapping paper to one side to find the gift you never wanted. Looking up you lock eyes with the person who gave you the present and, conscious of sounding ungrateful, you begrudgingly say those four words, ‘thanks, I love it’.

For many across the UK, this will be a harsh reality this Christmas, as they try to look happy with a gift they never wanted, Across December 2021 and January 2022 there were a total of 300,100 searches for ‘returns policy [company name]’ as many rushed to return unwanted gifts received in the festive period. 

Not everyone will be lucky enough to receive a personalised gift from Funky Pigeon this Christmas, so with that in mind, why not get prepared now and ensure you don’t hurt anyone’s feelings.

How? Well, by learning how to act surprised and happy with your gifts when you open them!

Luckily for thousands across the UK, we’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to, all you need to do is follow the expert advice below: 

We’ve recruited the help of body language expert, Inbaal Honigman, who said: 

“Surprise and gratitude are the two main emotions you want to convey when opening your Christmas presents in front of the gift-giver. 

“The beauty of body language analysis is that we’re doing it all the time. We sense whether someone is dishonest, just from the way they hold themselves. So, when you need to fake your body language, your key effort has to go into matching everything up – your words, your posture and your facial expressions have to send the same message. If something is ‘off’, you’ll appear to be lying. So concentrate!”

Below is an easy to follow guide so that you can show the right emotions when opening presents you might not want this Christmas, here are some key steps:

Really don’t like your gift? Mask the feeling with surprise, here’s how to do it:

  1. Raise eyebrows up and widen eyes unblinkingly – eyes are windows to the soul
  2. Send your limbs and facial features far and wide
  3. Put your shoulders up and arms akimbo
  4. Relax your jaw and allow the mouth to open up slightly making an O shape
  5. Turn to the thrilled gift-giver with all expressions, hold the gaze and raise your voice higher to thank them.
  6. Surprise doesn’t last long, so ensure most of these steps are carried out quickly and feel free to drop the act after a few seconds, or you’ll seem to be over-egging it

Where surprise is high and wide, gratitude is low and narrow, here’s how to show a believable ‘thank you’:

  1. Clasp your hands together at your chest
  2. Narrow your shoulders
  3. Lower your eyebrows
  4. And with an ‘awwww’ etched all over your face, use a deep, faux-sincere voice to express your thankfulness.

No one will ever know your secret, especially if you combine surprise, followed by gratitude!

Inbaal added:

“An easy hack to get away with insincerity during the traditional opening of the presents, is to try and really believe in the moment. Tell yourself convincingly that you are going to love what’s in the box, and then dive in like you mean it. Commit to the feeling of love, maybe even close your eyes a little bit – and your face and body will follow suit.” 

Where are people returning the most gifts?

Buying a gift is tough and many don’t get it right and there’s nothing wrong with that which is why retailers extend their returns policies at Christmas. Just so you know you’re not alone and so you don’t feel guilty for not liking your gift, we’ve looked into where Brits are wanting to send the most returns in the festive period.

Using Google search data, we’ve looked at the number of searches for ‘returns policy [company name]’ in December 2021 and January 2022. 

In the top spot is ASOS, with an average of 14,800 searches over the two months, followed by Argos (11,000), Next (9,900) and Zara (9,900). The full top 20 can be seen below: 

Keywords Search Volume (Dec 2020) Search Volume (Jan 2021) Average
asos returns policy 14,800 14,800 14,800
argos returns policy 12,100 9,900 11,000
next returns policy 9,900 9,900 9,900
zara returns policy 9,900 9,900 9,900
john lewis returns policy 6,600 8,100 7,350
ikea returns policy 5,400 6,600 6,000
returns policy amazon 5,400 5,400 5,400
boohoo returns policy 5,400 4,400 4,900
new look returns policy 4,400 4,400 4,400
sports direct returns policy 4,400 4,400 4,400
jd returns policy 4,400 3,600 4,000
returns policy shein 2,900 3,600 3,250
returns policy h&m 3,600 2,900 3,250
primark returns policy 3,600 2,900 3,250
cex returns policy 3,600 2,900 3,250
returns policy apple 3,600 2,900 3,250
flannels return policy 3,600 2,900 3,250
asda returns policy 2,900 2,900 2,900
nike returns policy 2,900 2,900 2,900
pandora returns policy 3,600 1,900 2,750


If you want to guarantee that no one uses these tips when you give them a gift this Christmas, you can still grab something that will tick all the boxes from our full range of Christmas gifts!