Every holiday season we see many articles and blog posts on how to give the perfect gift or how not to commit a gift faux pas. I’d like to talk a bit about how to receive a gift…with grace.
Have you ever spent a substantial amount of time and money on a gift and then received a very lukewarm (at best) reaction from it’s intended new owner? I have and on more than one occasion from the same person, who happens to be someone I know very well. That lukewarm reaction doesn’t make me want to try harder to give a better gift the next time; it makes me want to give up. Why bother spending the time or money if he or she is not appreciative of the effort. I am very aware I have also been guilty of blasé gift receiving at some point in my life also.
It is so important for us to show appreciation for the gifts we receive, to be grateful for what we have. We should be grateful for the gift, but more importantly we should be grateful that we have people in our lives at all. There are many people in this world who are alone, possibly forgotten, who do not receive any holiday wishes or gifts, at all.
How to receive a gift with grace…
Be present and in the moment – Accept the gift with both hands (this may differ in some cultures), look the person in the eye and say thank you so much with sincerity. Don’t barely look at them and say “oh just leave it there”.
It’s the thought that counts – So you received a snack you don’t eat, chocolates when you’re on a diet or clothing that screams not you and is two sizes too big for you. Call the giver or write a handwritten note expressing how grateful you are for the beautiful candies or top. If they are standing right there while you open the gift, don’t make a face and shove it back in the box. Hold it up and do the same. Say thank you, give them a hug and mean it. Gratitude does not come from the object you have received; it comes from your attitude. If you are truly grateful that someone thought enough about you to select or make a gift for you, you don’t need to fake it, that appreciation will come from your heart.
Some things to remember when you receive a gift that is not your cup of tea…
Some people are just better at shopping or gift selection than others.
We all have our own taste and style, your taste may be quite different than the giver’s.
We are not the center of everyone’s universe. I don’t expect friends and family to keep track of my dietary needs, my quirky sense of style, my Achilles heel or whether I prefer white or red wine. I also don’t expect them to remember every little detail I’ve rambled on and on about in my life.
People have time and monetary constraints. Many are trying to get by as best as they can. They have children to raise, jobs to do and bills to pay. Gift giving to you may not and should not be at the top of their list of priorities.
You are not a mind reader. There may have been some logic behind the gift selection that you are not aware of. That logic may come from their different perspective, what they personally value, the way they were raised or cultural differences. Many times there is good intent behind that seemingly inappropriate gift.
I am pledging to receive all future gifts with grace…the guidelines above are reminders to myself to be grateful that I have friends and family in my life during the holidays. You will never, ever see a post on MauiShopGirl about “bad gifts”.