5 Tips For Receiving Gifts (and how to become the best gift recipient ever)

At this time when togetherness with friends and family may not be possible, how can you tailor giving and receiving to build relationships and create a sense of closeness? Thinking about the principles of sharing is a wonderful topic to span the entire year, not just the holiday season.

Receiving Gifts With Grace

Most of us don’t typically give in order to receive, but certain elements of giving gifts do automatically give back: the personal satisfaction of doing something for someone else and the sense of connection you feel with the person who receives your gift…if that person offers thanks to you in a meaningful way. Read on for our 5 Tips for Receiving Gifts.

Is Receiving Etiquette A Lost Tradition?

My parents put a lot of effort into teaching us kids how to receive with gratitude. Gifts from grandparents and aunts/uncles prompted the writing of thank-you cards. In our younger years, mom wrote the card and we signed it in our most labor-intensive cursive. As we got older, we personalized this act of etiquette by choosing our own card, writing the address, affixing the stamp, and then walking our card to the mailbox. It’s a tradition I still cherish to this day.

Times have sure changed, though, from when I was a child. Life has gotten busier and more hectic. However, it seems that for many, not only have hand-written notes become a thing of the past but so has the basic gesture of saying “thank you” at all. Have you ever heard someone say, “I sent _____ a gift, but I don’t even know if he/she got it!”

Thoughtful Thank You’s

It seems logical that the full circle of giving can only be completed by the gracious and thoughtful act of receiving. How do YOU acknowledge gifts? Do you send a handwritten thank-you note? An email? A text? Or do you make a phone call? Perhaps now is a good time to slow down and give more thought to saying “thank you” to the gift-givers in your life.

5 Tips for Receiving Gifts This Holiday Season

Here are five simple ideas for acknowledging gifts thoughtfully and helping your children and other family members learn creative ways to communicate their thanks:

  1. Take a picture of the gift recipient opening the gift and have him/her sign it. Then send with a thank-you card or as an email attachment.
  2. Call the sender on the phone to give a sincere and heartfelt “thank you” in a personal manner.
  3. Extend an invitation to your gift-giver to coffee or lunch, or perhaps a socially-distanced walk in the park.
  4. Initiate a Facetime or Zoom call with gift-givers so they get to see your gratitude or excitement—LIVE!
  5. If the gift you received lends itself to making something, share your creation with the giver. It will really brighten their day.

The main point is to pause and take a few moments to show your gratitude to the person who gave you the gift.

How do you say thank you to your gift giver?

The Art of Receiving Gifts

There’s another side to receiving that is more complex and deserves more consideration. Have you ever thought about the best way to thank someone based on their personality? To communicate to the gift giver in a way that’s most meaningful to them? We are all born with temperaments that make us unique. Many systems of defining personality and temperament have been developed, but perhaps the simplest is the four-temperament types. Here is an explanation of the four temperament types offered by Better Help. Or, you can do an online search yourself to learn more about this system of “knowing” an individual for more informed communications and interactions.

How to Receive From Four Temperaments

In a nutshell, the four temperaments are choleric, melancholy, sanguine, and phlegmatic. You can already form a basic idea, just by reading the word. Considering the temperament and specific emotional needs of each person in your life allows you to communicate in ways that are most meaningful to them, especially when they give a gift to you. Devote some time to understanding these temperament types and you could become the best gift recipient ever!

  1. A Choleric is a high energy, driven, maybe type-A, a natural leader or organizer; emotional needs center around leading and work:  loyalty, sense of control, appreciation, credit for work. Choleric gift-givers often forget about gifts until the last minute, then they rush to get it done. Strengthen this relationship by acknowledging the slightest attempt at gifting. If they’ve put any noticeable time and energy into your gift, thank them by expressing appreciation for their work and the time they spent on you.
  2. The Melancholy is artistic, contemplative, empathetic; needs sensitivity, support, space, and silence. When thanking a Melancholy, remember he/she is sensitive to rejection and they often agonize over finding the perfect gift for you. Melancholies want their gifts to be a perfect fit, so even if you don’t like the gift, thank them sincerely for their affection and let them know you truly value their friendship.
  3. A Sanguine is gregarious, optimistic, popular; likes attention, affection, approval, and acceptance. When given a gift by a Sanguine, pour every ounce of enthusiasm you can into your thank-you, look him/her straight in the eyes and maybe even give them a hug. Tell Sanguines you love their ability to make you smile or laugh, because, after all, that’s what they live for…making you smile or laugh.
  4. The Phlegmatic is usually calm, analytical, maybe introverted; needs silence that is filled with peace, lack of stress, feelings of worth, and respect. You may think a peaceful Phlegmatic really needs nothing from you, but they do need to know you value them as much or more than the gift. Thank them for their friendship, their steadfast presence in your life, or for coming to your gathering or party.

A Hint to Teach Gratitude to Kids

Rather than explaining these complex aspects of appreciation to children, you might simply guide them with something like, “Uncle Ben is a very busy man, but he took the time to buy you this Hot Wheel. Can you thank him for making time with his busy schedule to think of you?”

Offering gratitude and respect to a gift-giver is like giving them a gift in return. When opening a gift, especially in a group setting, you may not have time to consider how you will use the gift, but it’s important to let the giver know how important it is to you. So knowing the temperament types of family members or guests will make your thank yous so much more meaningful to the people whose creativity, effort, or sweat and tears went into their gift to you.

More Tips for Gracious Gift Receipts

Do you struggle with words? Here is a great guide to writing the perfect thank you note from Postable.com How to Write A Thank You Note

Read this article from Medium.com on How to Receive Gifts with Grace.

From Martha Stewart, perhaps the ultimate expert on etiquette, here is MarthaStewart.com, How to Safely Swap Gifts this Holiday Season.

In this holiday season of 2020, I want to thank each Take Courage Coaching® client, past and present, for entrusting your pain and growth to our professional coaches; our advisory board members for the guidance you provide to this organization; each coach for the long hours you spend providing emotional support and motivation to our clients; the staff members who ensure that the pieces of this complex puzzle fit together; and to my family for the loving support and cheerleading — you are so good at gifting me.

Thank you for reading our blog 5 Tips for Receiving Gifts (and how to become the best gift recipient ever!)

Want to read more from our blog? Read 6 Ways to Rethink Gifting and Stay Calm.

About the Author: Becky Curtis

After a horrific car accident nearly took her life and her own long and complex recovery journey, Becky has assembled a vibrant team of specially-trained coaches—healthcare professionals who have gained proficiency in teaching and coaching, many who live successfully with chronic pain. Becky travels extensively to speak about the role of health coaching in pain management and has been a regular speaker at PAINWeek®, and many other conferences, in addition to coaching and managing TCC’s program. She lives in Utah with her husband and dog, Quigley.
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