I was taught at an early age how to accept a gift graciously and with gratitude. I was prompted to write thank you notes after each holiday and when I received a package in the mail. I remember how tedious the act felt when I was a child, but I must admit that my parents were right to urge me to express my appreciation at an early age. With most of our lives being lived online these days, grace and gratitude seem to be easily forgotten. Recently I have encounted three gift receiving situations that have left me wondering if their parents didn’t raise them right:
1. The Disappointed Child – at many a birthday party (including my own son’s past birthday parties) I have heard a child disappointedly utter, “I already have this toy” or worse, “this isn’t what I asked for.”
Suggestion: Set aside some time with your children before a gift-giving situation and remind them to smile and say “thank you” after they open each gift. Also tell them to check the gift tag BEFORE opening the present. That way they’ll know just who to look out for after the wrapping paper flies. 2. The Family That Can’t Be Bothered: There are families that receive gifts from far away family members in the mail and never even call to let the senders know the package arrived, let alone if the gifts were enjoyed.
Suggestion: During holiday season, we can get wrapped up in the things that come “wrapped up” but when it comes time to open that box o’gifts from Grammy and Pop make sure you have the camera ready. If writing a thank you note and throwing in some snapshots is too much to ask, throw the pictures up on your Facebook or Instagram wall and tag the gift givers. This rule of thumb works perfectly for adults as well. When someone sends flowers or a gift your way, snap a quick picture. They will love the chance to see the smile on little Susie’s face when she gets the dolly she had been eyeing or the vase full of beautiful flowers that arrived safe and sound. 3. The Inconsiderate Adults: I have heard adults mock a present that another adult has picked out because it was annoying, unattractive, or obtrusive.
Suggestion: Just bite your tongue. When the gift makes it your way and it has an “off” switch then without being seen, turn the switch and find a nice shelf to display the new gift on. If the gift receiver seems a bit baffled on what to say, help them out with a helpful line like, “Jillian will look great in that sweater next fall. Nice job, Jim.” They will be forever in your debt.
A point I want to draw attention to is that all three of these situations often end with a crestfallen look on the gift-giver’s face. No one should feel that way after they give you a gift.
When you unwrap that loaf of homemade fruitcake, annoying children’s toy, or the just a bit too loud sweater, remember that this is a gift. Someone took the time to leave their house, search a store, pay with their hard earned money, wrap the gift and deliver it to you. And while there are times when a gift may prompt you to think “do you even know me?” I urge you to be thankful and gracious in your response anyway. Maybe the gift seems a bit snide, such as a cleaning supplies from your mother-in-law or a pedometer from your over zealous fitness minded friend. Tell them how helpful their gift is, and how generous it was for them to think of you. After all the sacrifice of someone’s time and money is well worth your gratitude.
#fakeittillyamakeit #grinandbearit #saythankyou