Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Art of Gift Receiving

Recently, I had a life lesson in how one should properly receive a gift.

As the gift-giver, I was disappointed in the gift-recipients actions - so disappointed, in fact, that if I could have gotten away with sneaking out with the gift I have given, I would have.  I would rather save it give it to someone who I feel would actually appreciate it (or at least seem like they do).

Things one should NOT do, when receiving a gift:

  • The moment your guests arrives to your party or shower, with your gift, do NOT say....I'll go ahead and open your gift.  It gives the impression of a "gift grab" - as if you don't care if they came or not, as long as you get a gift.  First, offer them a refreshment or a seat - thank them for coming, make them feel like you are actually glad that they came and set your gift aside (perhaps on a table) to be opened later, when the other guests have all arrive.  Do NOT deprive all your guest from seeing what you received. That is part of the fun, they enjoying seeing your gifts and seeing you happy.  If you don't open gifts in front of them, they don't get to enjoy that.  (The only exclusion is a wedding...there is not enough time at a wedding to open gifts, they will be opened later by the happy couple, but if it is a shower or engagement party, there is time...allow your guest to oooh and aaah.
  • When you are opening a gift, smile and say thank you, make NICE comments on the gift you have received.  Say things like "It is beautiful", "This was on my registry, I'm so happy you picked it out", "I love the color", "This is so cute", "This is perfect for my baby's room", "This will be nice to take on my honeymoon.", "This is really pretty", etc. 
  • Do NOT open the bag, peek in and set it aside as if the contents are undesirable.  Do NOT say "I already have this", Do NOT say "I didn't need more baby clothes", do NOT say "Ugh, not more diapers, just what I don't need - ugh", Do NOT toss your gift aside as if it were a pack of peanuts.  Look at your gift, even if it isn't your taste or what you need or want, be appreciated that the person went out of there way to get you a gift and spent their good, hard-earned money especially for you.
  • If you receive a hand-made item (such as a crochet baby blanket, or hand-knitted gloves and scarf), do NOT say "Oh - another crocheted baby blanket" or "I prefer store bought gloves".  Do you realize that if a person made you a gift with their own two hands, it is because they thought you were worth investing their time and money and skills.  They wanted you to have something unique and special, something that no one else could give you.  They spent lots of money buying the raw materials needed, they used their skill (that you as the recipient may not have) and spent hours and hours and hours making something special just for you!  Show a little appreciation.  It may not be your style or it may not be practical for you, but the person that made it for you, cared enough about you to make it - at least respect that and be grateful for that. 
  •  Do NOT forget to send a Thank You Card.  Again, your guests spent their hard-earn money and spent time and energy finding a gift just for you.  Let them know you appreciate it.  Please don't send a generic "Thanks for the gift" (which give the appearance that you don't even know what they gave you), try to be a little specific, such as "Thanks for the lovely frame, our wedding picture looks great in it".  I know sometimes you have a lot of cards to write, but you don't have to write them all at once - spread it over a few days if you have to.  However, at least send a card, even if it is a generic Thank You.  It is better than not sending a card at all.
I recall once going to a baby shower for a friend (not a close friend but close enough to get invited to the shower), I knew she was having a girl and I made (what I thought) was a darling little crochet dress for her.  Anyone can get something off the baby registry but since clothes were on there, I thought I would make something cute and different.  Everyone I showed it too, thought it was sweet and pretty and that the mom-to-be would love it.  She didn't.  How did I know?  The look of horror on her face when she opened it.  As if to say...this is hideous, and it isn't from Neiman Marcus or Macy's and isn't sophisticated enough for my daughter.  Later, I got a generic "thank you for the gift" card.  But at least she sent a Thank You card.

More recently, I gave a different mom-to-be a crochet blanket, she didn't even bother unfolding it when she opened it to get a better view.  She just said "Uh - ANOTHER crochet blanket" - she had only received one before that (a lovely yellow one who I had no idea who made it because she opened the gifts the second we walked in the door).

It just makes me wonder, what do these people do with these apparently unwanted homemade gifts?  If they don't want them, I'd be glad to take them back and give them to someone that would appreciate it.  I suppose they end up in the trash or at goodwill (at least if they go to goodwill maybe someone will get it and appreciate it).

I don't expect praises and jumping up and down and kissing at my feet, but just a general overall expression of happiness and gratitude.  I don't think that is asking for much, do you?

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