“Breaking up is hard to do-whooo-ooo.”
So sang Paul Anka, and now you know why. Movie scenes from “Love Actually” abound while Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” plays in the background, but your thoughts are focused on the writing on the wall.
You wonder to yourself: to gift or not to gift, before or after you break up?
This most wonderful time of the year is full of sticky gifting situations, and it gets worse if you are planning a break up or are newly broken hearted. Read on for solutions.
Should I break up before or after the holidays?
Before is generally best. Be real. Don’t carry your secret until January 2, especially if you know that the soon-to-be-broken-hearted ex is going to be surrounded by family and friends. In that close and cozy circle, they have the opportunity to find comfort amongst loved ones, and who knows? Maybe even kiss a new love on New Year’s Eve.
Keep the breakup kind and clean, then exit. No lengthy explanations or specific situations, just differences in values. Don’t linger.
If you have decided to wait until after the holidays, set minimal expectations during the holiday season. Suggest a small budget for gifts and limit time with family. This will diminish your chances of regrets or of lying. But get ready to change topics quickly as you get quizzed by family!
How do I break up at a gathering?
You don’t. Breaking up during a party will make it all about you instead of the conviviality of the gathering. If you cannot stand the thought of being with that person for one more holiday celebration, you have two choices: 1) don’t attend or 2) pretend until the day after.
I was broken up with. Do I keep gifts I’ve received?
Your choice. A gift is a gift no matter what the circumstances are. A gift should not come with strings attached, nor an elastic band. You don’t have to give the gift back.
But you may choose to. Giving the gift back may help you to move on by removing the object — and any painful memories associated with it — from your home and sight. If you offer to return a gift, and they refuse to take it back, make someone in your world happy: pass it on.
On the flip side, never ask for a gift back. It is tacky. Exceptions are family heirlooms.
If the other volunteers to return your gift back to you, follow your heart. Let them keep it, or accept it back and return it to the store. Stores have great return policies at this time of the year, plus most associates will be very empathetic to your story.
Uh-oh, I unwrapped an engagement ring
Yikes, was he planning on popping the question during the holidays? You will have to politely decline.
Don’t play into hints. Communicate clearly that you don’t feel ready to marry.
If the proposal comes, let your body language communicate that you will decline. Don’t smile. Don’t kiss. Bow your eyes. Hug. Be civil and benevolent. Say that you don’t think that you are compatible for marriage.
If this is a public proposal, go right to the hug. State that you are overwhelmed. Ask for a couple’s moment alone.
If you get caught up in the moment and accept, to avoid embarrassment in front of family and friends, let your true feelings known in private. Be empathetic without giving hope and being definite.
And if you got the ring, you should give it back. Yes, you must, even if you are totally gaga over it! An engagement ring is considered a conditional “on acceptance” gift. So the offerer may get his money back, return it as soon as possible and absolutely before it is altered to your size.