How to: accept gifts with grace

I first wrote a version of this post last year on rachaelblogs and it’s proved so popular I thought I’d repost over here.

I just love giving gifts. I’m a hopeless secret keeper though, once I’ve bought a gift I just can’t wait for the recipient to receive it – which makes the run up to Christmas and birthdays a pain (literally).  I first posted this blog post because of my (then) addiction to freecycle. I loved the way that you could pass on unwanted items and give them a new lease of life. But the more I was giving stuff away, the more I noticed that people weren’t in the habit of saying thank you. At least 4 people walked away with goods (not crap either) and didn’t even say a quick thanks. Just took the stuff and left. I’ll be honest, it left a bad taste in my mouth. I found that the act of giving was soon replaced with the frustration of people and their bad manners.

Accepting gifts isn’t an easy thing – I get that. It can be a minefield but here are just a few tips to help you accept gifts with grace…

Image via Pinterest

Simply – say thank you. You don’t have to deliver an Oscar worthy speech but just the words “Thank You” can go a long way. We live in an age of technology and communication – this makes the thank you a lot easier. By text, email or phone – to me a thank you is a thank you – however it’s delivered.

Don’t see gift giving as a competition – You can’t ever really “outgift” someone. Yeah you can spend more money, get someone thing bigger and better but if the sentiment isn’t behind your decision to buy a particular gift then its not worth buying. Mindful giving – that’s where it’s at.

Watch your reaction. You may like what you’re given but a roll of the eyes or a scowl is going to make the giver want to smack you and remove their gift from your person. Seriously, I need to tell myself this one because I’m a terrible face puller.

Write a note. I love thank you notes. Like I said earlier we live in an age of communication so why the thank you note has died out is beyond me. A quick text or email to thank someone for their gift will make the givers day. If you’ve young children – get them in to the habit of writing thank you notes. They’ll enjoy it as well as it being a good habit to get in to.

Ask. If for example you’ve got a boyfriend whose terrible at buying gifts then the best thing to do is provide him with a shopping list. Personally I think this can be a little cheeky and presumptuous but if it’s going to make everyones life a little easier then maybe it’s one to consider. If you don’t ask then hinting pretty heavily usually gets the job done.  Consider setting up a pinterest board with things you like so that whoever buying you a gift can get an idea of what’s hot and what’s not in your world.

Don’t see it as taking – see it as giving joy – yeah I struggled with the concept of this one but an article in psychologies magazine said that taking gifts can make you feel anxious and create a feeling of unworthiness but giving makes us feel generous, competent, connected, empowered and in control.  SO rather than feeling bad when you’re given a gift instead see it as giving someone else joy.  It’s all a bit deep and psychological – especially if the gift in question is something like a bar of chocolate but still, useful to know.

Essentially the way to handle gifts with grace and elegance is to be grateful that someone has taken the time to think about you and want to spend their hard earned cash and time on getting you something you’d enjoy. Just smile, say thank you and enjoy being treated.

Author: Rachael

I'm a journalist and creative consultant. I write about how busy women (just like you) can live, work and eat - better.

4 thoughts on “How to: accept gifts with grace”

  1. I now choose to see gifts as giving joy. My BDay is today and my party will be next weekend. I will say Thank you to everyone and accept the girts with grace.

    Thank you very much for this post. <3

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