I love giving gifts- It's fun to shop for friends and family and I find joy in hunting for that perfect thing. That being said, I'm less comfortable being on the receiving end. It's often a challenge for me to express my true gratitude, particularly if the item is something that I really don't want. My individual aesthetics and preferences get in the way of appreciating a heartfelt gesture.
Accepting gifts graciously is especially important during the holiday season (and don't forget to write a thank you note!). With Christmas only days away, here are a few tips:
- DO say thanks in a genuine way. Even if you don't like the item, you surely can appreciate the effort that went into choosing it. You don't have to lie and say that you love it, but do try a phrase like "This was incredibly thoughtful of you."
- DON'T lament over the fact that you didn't buy a gift as well. Resist the urge to reciprocate and simply say something like "Thank you so much for thinking of me. What a nice surprise!"
- DO open presents in front of the gift giver. It's gracious to open presents while they're in the room so that you can thank them in person. I'm definitely guilty of not following this rule, especially when friends bring hostess gifts to a party. But it take seconds to unwrap the present, so just go for it!
- DON'T follow up your elegant thank you with "but". I've heard this before- "Thank you, but I already have this." Or "Thank you, but I won't get much use out of this." In fact, I've probably said something like this before. Let's eradicate it from our gift-receiving vocabulary this year and just say "thank you."
- DO look for the good in a gift. If it's something you truly dislike or won't use, you can always donate it or exchange it later. But there's probably SOMETHING good or at least neutral that you can say in the moment. For example, if you receive a sweater that you never intend on wearing, you could still say something like "Thank you! I love feeling cozy and warm in the winter- you know me so well."