The Art of Receiving a Gift

festivals Dec 12, 2022
How to help your child receive gifts during the holidays

Whether you homeschool or not, we are constantly teaching our children as we move through life
together. However, some skills require more practice and attention than others. As my son entered middle
school, I began to realize that, other than please and thank you, the art of good manners was something
that we hadn’t really discussed. So, we began to talk about how to greet someone with eye contact and a
firm handshake; how to request or decline servings of food at group gatherings, and other ways to be
considerate of those around us. This not only makes social interactions flow more smoothly, but it gives
the child a boost of confidence and a sense of accomplishment in knowing how to navigate different

As we enter this season of gift giving, I would like to share some simple steps to receiving a gift
graciously – whether you like the gift or not. Have you ever had that experience of opening a gift that left
you awkwardly speechless and unsure of what to say? Instead of blurting out a half-hearted, “Um, thank
you,” try these steps instead. I recommend practicing, making a game of gifting each other with random
items around the home, until it feels easy and comfortable. Remember to keep the tone of your voice light
and pleasant, and mind your facial expressions.

How to Receive a Gift Graciously
(Whether You Like It...Or Not)
1. State what it is
2. Describe the item – try to mention at least 2 details
3. If you like it, say so. Otherwise, skip this step
4. Look the giver in the eye and say in a clear voice, “Thank you.”
◦ You can expand this to, “Thank you for thinking of me.”

Steps one and two are crucial because this is when we are letting the giver know that we really see their
gift. We are fully taking it in and receiving it; in other words, this is the moment that the giver has been
anticipating. Take your time to turn the item around and examine it from all sides.

If you like the gift, steps three and four should be fairly simple. However, if you do not and are struggling
to be thankful, shift your focus away from the gift and onto the giver and their intention towards you. A
gift is merely a token to express our affection for another. See if you can feel gratitude to have someone in
your life who appreciates you enough to bring you any kind of gift. And then, by saying not just “Thank
you,” but “Thank you for thinking of me,” you are directly acknowledging your relationship, rather than
the item itself.

An example of receiving a gift that you LIKE:
“Oh, hey! A flashlight. It’s shiny green with a wrist strap...and it even has a little compass on top. I
love it! It’ll be perfect on our next camping trip. Thank you, Uncle Terry.”

An example of receiving a gift that you DO NOT LIKE:
“A handmade sweater! Look at all the little stitches and the bright colors. It looks like you worked
really hard on this. Thank you for thinking of me, Grandma.”

With practice, receiving gifts – of any kind – can be a fun and creative challenge, and a wonderful
opportunity to give the gift-giver the gift of your full attention and appreciation. It also shifts the focus
onto the value of relationships, gratitude for our friends and family, and strengthening that precious

~ By Ms. Andrea

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