Americans faking their way through the holidays – how to spot when someone hates your gift

New Survey Finds that 3 out of 4 Americans Fake Reactions to Gifts They Don’t Like

Giving a gift this year? Look closely at their reaction because they probably won’t tell you if they don’t like it.

A study into the gift-opening habits of 2,000 Americans found nearly three quarters surveyed (73 percent) regularly fake their reaction when opening a present.

Eight in ten respondents will even lie to your face and pretend to like a gift, even if they absolutely hate it, according to results. Only 10 percent of respondents said they would actually tell someone if they didn’t like a gift.

Women are bigger fakers than men with 77 percent regularly faking their way through compared to 63 percent of men.

Interestingly, men are nearly twice as likely to say if they didn’t like a gift, with 17 percent of men dishing out true feedback versus just 9 percent of women.

And if Grandma says she likes your gift she might not be be telling the truth – the likelihood of saying if you don’t like a gift goes down with increased age, with just eight percent of the over 55 category telling the truth.

The study, conducted by market researchers, OnePoll, and commissioned by Groupon found the average person takes under five seconds to know if they like a present.

The research also identified the common phrases people confess to saying if faking their reaction – if someone says ‘wow’ when opening your present this year, you may be in big trouble.

Simply saying ‘you shouldn’t have’ or ‘aww’ are also signs you may have missed the mark and appeared in the top 5 most commonly uttered phrases when someone hates a gift.

Other phrases to be worried about included ‘I needed one of these’ and ‘I love it.’

From patting someone on the back to silently staring at the gift, 58 percent of Americans confessed they are expert fakers, while about three in ten said they simply go for a big hug with the person and squeeze them long enough to avoid any awkward questions.

But not everyone gets off the hook that easily – 37 percent of those polled said they’ve given a gift to someone and known the other person was lying when they said they liked it.

“It’s no secret that getting the right gift for everyone on your list can be an enormous challenge.” said Silvija Martincevic, vice president and general manager of health, beauty and wellness, Groupon. “We want everyone to truly love their gifts. After all, no one has ever returned a massage.”


Moms were more than twice as likely as dads to be called out for giving presents that don’t quite hit the mark, according to results.

But, when quizzed on who is most likely to get a gift wrong this holiday season the most common culprit was our PARTNERS, who really should know us better.

In fact, about one in five say a bad gift has stirred up an argument in their relationship, with about one in nine saying a bad gift has either ended or nearly ended a relationship.

A bold 11 percent would openly say they don’t like a gift because the gift giver should know them better and shouldn’t make the same mistake again – while a quarter feels lying about liking a gift is a polite thing to do.

Regionally, those in the South are the most likely to fake their way through a gift they hate, with those in the West the least likely to fake a reaction.

One woman excitedly opened up a small box from her boyfriend in front of her whole family, expecting it to be jewelry. To her disappointment it was an electronic cigarette lighter – she didn’t even smoke, he did.

Another woman received a pink bird house from a grandmother, only to find out later that a prisoner from her grandmother’s job made it for her.

Other bad gifts survey participants said they’ve received include a VHS tape rewinder, leftover pizza and an extension cord.

The study also shows personality, hobbies and something sentimental are the top three things to be considered when buying the perfect gift.

“While there are a number of very good actors among our family and friends, this research shows that the best gifts to bring out someone’s true gift face usually involve something more personalized and experiential in nature such as relaxing spa day, a meal at a great restaurant or an activity that involves one of their favorite hobbies,” Martincevic said.


  1. Wow
  2. Aww!
  3. I love it
  4. You shouldn’t have
  5. I needed one of these


  1. Appear delighted
  2. Hug long enough to avoid awkward questions
  3. Kiss the gift giver
  4. Stare at the gift
  5. Pat someone on the back


  1. Personality
  2. Hobbies
  3. Sentimental/sweet
  4. Appearance/style
  5. Inspirational
  6. What’s trending
  7. Jewelry
  8. Inside-jokes
  9. Tech-based
  10. Expensive



This survey of 2,000 US adults who celebrate Christmas was conducted between November 18, 2016 and November 30, 2016 by Market Researchers OnePoll and commissioned by Groupon.

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