“Oh my god.”

“Oh. Oh god.”

“Oh man. Oh, this is…”

“Oh man! Oh yeah!”


Am I recounting the best sex of my life or opening the entire 'According to Jim' collection on Blu-Ray last Christmas? Even if you were in the same room you couldn’t tell the difference. That’s because I've perfected the feigned "oh wow" enthusiasm of opening crappy Christmas gifts.

It took years of ripping into ribbon and paper patterned with fat elves -- only to find Guinness World Record books, puppy calendars, Planet Hollywood t-shirts (to which I’ve never been), handmade sweatshirts of my favorite sports teams (picture a bedazzled Yankees jersey made by an alcoholic with the DTs) -- to sculpt my expression to exude the appropriate level of joy. Meanwhile, underneath the surface, the true emotion of sheer horror tugs at my lips, attempting to drag them into a scowl, but my face gives an Oscar-worthy portrayal of genuine joy as I shout, “LOOK AT THIS! A HEATED BATH TOWEL RACK!” (No joke, I got one of those once.)

As I said in the title, faking gift appreciation is much harder than faking an orgasm – and almost as important. Orgasms involve acts of simultaneous pleasure for two people. It’s so much easier to fake enjoyment while another person is experiencing actual enjoyment (or faking it just as hard as you are).

Opening a gift puts you in the spotlight while the gift-giver watches each moment with the excitement and intensity of a coach during Olympic trials. Imagine sex involving the other person staring at you until you finished. It’s much easier to scream “OH RIGHT THERE!” in bed and have people believe it. Try yelling it with the same level of conviction while Uncle Danny watches you unwrap a family portrait of everyone as a member of the Rat Pack -- in your living room.

I’m here to share my expertise with the group. Not about faking orgasms (you’re on your own kid) but to share what I’ve seen, what I’ve learned, and the best ways to react to crap gifts or to avoid the situation all together.

Change tempo

Open the gift as slowly or as quickly as possible. Either the action will be too fast for the person to follow (making them unable to catch the expression on your face) or so slow they'll lose all interest in the gift and move onto something else going on in the room.  Personally, I’m a fan of the slow reveal. I understand the “quick and painless like a Band-Aid” argument, but if I’m going to get a turd gift I want to savor the moments when it has the potential to be something awesome. Go slow. Think about how long it takes your mother to open a DVD still in the manufacturers wrapping and go even slower.

Suggest simultaneous gift exchange

Think back to what I said about orgasms. That’s the idea behind the simultaneous gift exchange. If you know a terrible gift is pending, suggest the person open your gift at the same time. It’s a diversion.

Learn the buzz phrases

Your mouth might have to say something much different than your face.  Remember these handy lies to make the person think they've given you the perfect gift:




Please Don’t Open Until Christmas

You really, realllllly want to open the gift but you’ve got a strict “open only on Christmas policy.” It’s a tradition, and you can’t break tradition. If it’s actually Christmas Day, you’re screwed. No one said these ideas were foolproof.


“Oh my god.”

“Ohhhhh god.”

“Oh man. Oh, this is…”

“Oh god! Oh god! Oh god! Oh god!”


'Sons of Anarchy' soundtrack in my stocking.

Just practicing.

Chris Illuminati is the Editor-in-chief of GuySpeed. He’s written three humor books, ruined many relationships and still cries during thunderstorms. His ‘Half a Man’ column appears every Tuesday. You can read more of his work here or follow him on Twitter.