How bad is it? Is it something you can politely fold up and put in a drawer, or something bigger and more expensive that he’ll expect to see you wearing on the regular? If it wasn’t just a small gift or stocking stuffer type of item, and something he really put a lot of thought into (despite its awfulness), you might want to consider returning it so you don’t have to wear it every time you’re with him.
If you’ve decided to return something he’s given you, there are a few options to consider. You can keep it a secret, but then when he asks you why you never wear item X, you have to lie every time and tell him it’s in the wash or at the dry cleaners. If you keep the item and wear it every time he comes over, while it will make him happy, he’s going to think you actually like it. This runs the risk of him repeating the colossal gifting error again and again. If you are going to be upfront and tell him you plan on returning it, be nice about it. Tell him it’s just not your color, that the fit makes you look fat, that you're allergic to the material or whatever you can think of to soften the blow.
To avoid a similar bad gift scenario next time, there are a few things you can try. You can tell him what you want (or make a list of several items for him to choose from), you can suggest you splurge on a fancy night on the town instead of exchanging gifts (sexy and romantic) or you can drop hints all year leading up to Christmas in hopes that by the time he starts shopping next season, he’ll have a much better idea of what you want.
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