Uh oh! Aunt Susanne has just handed you a squidgy mass of wrapping paper and sticky tape; delicately removing the handcrafted bow you tear away the seasonal décor to reveal the most hideous pullover you’ve ever witnessed.

But how can you show your love and appreciation for your dear old Aunt and her spirit of giving without letting on that you’re less than impressed at her knitting skills. Read on to find out…

Step One: Show (Some) Appreciation

Always thank your nearest and dearest for their ‘lovely’ present. There’s no need to desperately lie about how much you adore the novelty sweater if you don’t; instead, graciously thank them for the gifted sentiment: “I absolutely love the jumper Aunt Gene!” isn’t the same as “Thank you for the gift, Auntie”.

Step Two: Don’t Overcompensate

If you initially go wild over your new pullover, only to show disinterest ten minutes later, you’re not going to win over your relatives. Worst still, if your dramatic skills are too good, you may receive the same novelty present again next year!

Step Three: Strategic Wearing

Start by putting the sweater on at the most appropriate time. Avoid donning your jersey just before a family photo or video chatting with your fiancé. Instead, plump for during lunch when everyone’s too busy eating to take pictures.

Next, take off the sweater and tie it around your waist or sling it over your shoulders. Claim you’re feeling ‘a little too warm’ if anyone asks why you’re not currently cocooned in its seasonal embrace.

End by strategically leaving it on the back of your chair. If you went down the luncheon route, you should be somewhere near Christmas pudding at this stage.

Step Four: The Final Outing

You’re almost ready to put this sucker out of sight and out of mind, but first you’ll want to put your sweater back on for one final farewell.

Sense when your seasonal gift giver is ready to leave. Subtly put your pullover on, so when it comes to ‘hugs and kisses’ you’re primed and ready to go. Always wait several minutes before consigning your gift to the closet: you don’t want to be caught undressing when your gift-giver returns unexpectedly having forgotten their keys…

Top Tips

Is this an extended visit? Choose your wear times strategically; think about occasions when you’ll be in close vicinity (meal times, party games, etc) and be sure to have your dazzling jumper on hand.

Don’t highlight the fact you’re wearing the sweater. Don’t be tempted into talking over its finer points with others – if you seem to be enjoying the attention your jumper is bringing you, someone will insist on taking a picture! Nonchalance will keep you safe.

Need to delay your sweater’s initial outing? Avoid using the traditional excuses such as ‘keeping it for a special occasion’, and instead try some alternative delaying tactics. A good place to start is insisting on changing into something more suitable first. If all else fails, jump straight to stage two of the Strategic Wearing plan – just remember to crank up the thermostat so it’s not just you that feels it’s too warm for sweaters…

About The Author

Johnathan Bell is the founder, owner and main author of Guy Style Guide, a website dedicated to everyday male fashion, style and grooming. The primary mission? To guide clueless men through the tricky mindfield that is the growing world of male couture. Find him on , Twitter and Tumblr.