I am the very BEST and WORST gift receiver. I am either over- the-top excited and happy and thankful about what I receive, or I have been a total JERK. When the giver was Mike.
The way he loves people best is through acts of service and gifts. Give him a honey-do list and he's on it! This morning, before church, he hung my cross in the living room, a picture in the bathroom, hanging hooks in the girls' closet, made us breakfast, unloaded the dishwasher, just to name a few. He loves doing helpful things for other people. He also LOVES buying good gifts. Anything cool and fun and exciting that our kids have, he's likely bought it. Those are the two main ways that he loves others.
Through the years, he's bought me countless gifts that I have been a jerk about receiving. "We don't need this. You spent too much. It's the wrong color, shape, size", etc. Not always, but at times, I have been an AWFUL, ungrateful, bratty, self-centered gift receiver. When I wasn't happy, I'd take it upon myself to be sure that he knew it, not considering HIS feelings.
This year, I vow to be different. I will be accepting and grateful and gracious towards him no matter what he buys. I will consider all of the thought, time, money and effort he has put into picking things out for me. I will remember that gift giving isn't just about "ME" the receiver, but it's also a JOYOUS occasion for the "GIVER." They did spend time, money and effort trying to show their love. Their feelings matter too!
Now that we have another of my flaws out of the way, let's talk about our kiddos. When you're on your way to grandma's house, grandpa's house, or wherever gifts will be received, consider having a talk with your kiddos about receiving gifts.
"Someone spent their time, money, and energy to buy you this gift, or these gifts. No matter how you feel about what you receive, remember the heart of the giver. Think about them and what they gave up so that you could have the gift. They spent their time and money for YOU. Even if you wish you'd received something different, or what cousin Johnny received, let's be so Kind and grateful for what we've been given. You don't have to lie and say you Love something that you don't Love, but you cannot be disrespectful. Ungrateful. Complaining. Remember, this isn't just about us, but about their feelings too."
Will they get it? Maybe, maybe not. It may take a few years. Thankfully, we have a lot of birthday parties and holidays to practice this skill. If we set the standard for receiving gifts, and train them to be good gift receivers, I bet it will make a difference. Just plant those little seeds of gratitude in their head BEFORE you arrive or before your guest arrive about what you expect. Remind them that 2 people are involved in the gift giving and receiving process and that everyone's feelings matter.
It will save you the embarrassment of their bad behavior. It may spare someone else's hurt feelings. It will train them to think of other's feelings instead of just their own happiness.
When I receive gifts this season (from Mike) I will be gracious. I'd NEVER say to anyone else "this gift isn't quite right." But I deeply regret doing that to him. Thankfully, it's a new Year and I get to be whoever I choose to be! I will think of HIM and his heart and not just my OWN. I will be KIND. I will be LOVING. I will be gracious.
I think if we get our hearts right this Holiday season, and help get our Kids' hearts right this Holiday season, we will all have
more JOY in the chaos this Christmas!