On the blog, I have written many posts about gift giving: what to add to presents to make them more creative, etc. Now, it’s time to look at the process from the other side and see how we can improve receiving gifts.
One day, a question was asked on Quora about meaningful gifts that were not appreciated by the receivers. Among many interesting answers, there was one that truly deserves to be shared, especially before the International Children’s Day.
Sit comfortably, and read a memory shared by Zoe-Anne Barcellos:
‘I think that the expression of gratitude is a skill that must be taught (or absorbed through observation).
When my children were young, before each gift receiving occasion (usually birthdays or Christmas), we would play the ‘Gifting Game’. I would explain to them they may get gifts they do not like or copies of something they already had. I said, in that case, you thank for them and do not remove the item from the packaging and we would later discretely return or exchange the gift. I made sure they knew that they needed to be thankful that someone thought of them and dedicated some time and effort to get them something. Then we would practice what to say and do when they got a gift they did not like or want.
I would gather a selection of different sized gift bags. Then each of the children would take a bag, go around the house and try to pick something that would be horrible to receive as a gift. Then we would exchange the bags. The goal of the game was that the recipient would have to say something nice AND truthful about the gift. If you were really stumped, you could respond with ‘Thank you, I appreciate you thinking of me.’
But here are some more creative examples of the ‘gifts’ we exchanged and some responses:
- Toilet paper – ‘Thanks, I use this every day!’
- Dirt – ‘Wow, I have some seeds I have been needing to plant.’
- An old ratty t-shirt – ‘This is my favourite colour.’
- A spoon – ‘This matches my set and I think I am down one.’
- A doll (given by a sister to her brother) – ‘My sister has one just like this, and she really likes it, so I am sure I will, too.’
- A broom – ‘This will come in so handy; I sweep all the time.’
The list goes on, but you can get the gist. My kids loved this game from about age 3 to 8-9 years old. After that, they lost interest and didn’t want to play anymore. But they are always thoughtful when receiving gifts. I miss the days of listening to them giggling and running around looking for the item that would stump the rest of us to find something positive.’
How do you like this idea? Personally, I have never been taught to receive gifts properly, so I am looking forward to the days when my own kids are old enough to play the game with me.