“One must know not just how to accept a gift, but with what grace to share it.”
I once told my sister that my 4-year-old daughter loved to pour lots and lots of maple syrup on her pancakes. So my sister, who is known in our family for giving odd gifts, gave my daughter a bottle of maple syrup for her next birthday. Bless my sister’s heart – she thought she was doing a good thing. But my daughter burst into tears when she opened the gift; probably out of disappointment, shock, and embarrassment that her maple syrup infatuation was exposed. It was not pretty.
So I used the occasion, after the party, to teach my daughter how to accept an unwelcome gift. I told her that it is always a good idea to just say “thank you for thinking of me” and then graciously move on to the next present. After the gift-giver has gone home, your child can then express his true feelings. Even though my daughter loved maple syrup, she didn’t want to ever use that particular bottle, so not long after the party we gave it to a food drive.
During the holidays, if kids are ungrateful of the gifts they receive, it can be a good time for parents to teach grace and appreciation and then share the unwanted gifts with others who may need them. It’s a couple of life lessons all wrapped up in one.
By Claire Gawinowicz, Certified Parenting Educator