Holiday Manners Makeover- Gift Giving

by Cindy Post Senning on November 29, 2011

This post originally appeared at my parenting blog The Gift of Good Manners. I will be cross posting some of my favorite content from that blog here at the Etiquette Daily periodically. I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Giving and Receiving Gifts:

Spend this last hour helping your kids learn gracious gift giving and receiving.

Gift Giving - In order to help your kids learn the joy of giving make the time to have them participate in gift shopping or making gifts they will give during the holidays. Then practice these interactions:

  1. Look at the person and smile.
  2. Hand them the gift and say clearly, “This is for you. I hope you like it.” Or “Here, I made this especially for you.” Help your kids with the language of giving.
  3. Watch the person open their gift and feel the delight that comes with giving.

Gift Receiving - Remind the kids that when someone has given them a gift, she has spent some time picking it out, wrapping it, writing the card, or maybe even making the gift. It’s important to show your care and respect by opening the gift with a sense of joy and then expressing thanks!

  1. Look at the person giving you the gift and smile.
  2. Focus on the person and the gift – not something you opened just before.
  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you. We don’t express our appreciation enough and you can’t stress it enough with your children! If you can’t thank the giver in person send a note right away!
  4. (If they don’t like the gift, teach them to find the positive thing they can say, to say it, and then to say thank you. “This shirt is the best color blue. Thank you so much.”)

Five days; five lessons – with these basics your children will do well during the holidays. They know what’s expected and they have the skills to meet those expectations. They know what they can expect from others. There is a confidence that comes from the knowledge.

Approach this time together positively. Engage your kids in conversation about ways to make things smooth with people they know well and people they are meeting for the first time. You’ll be making the holidays less stressful for yourself and your children.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jody November 29, 2011 at 9:12 am

I think adults could benefit from these lessons as well. It’s an art to act appreciative of a gift you really don’t like. Remember that the giver probably put a lot of thought into the gift.


Karen November 29, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Thanks for this post! My siblings and I were never taught how to properly accept and give gifts, and are now uncomfortable during holiday gift openings, something that took me quite a while to overcome. I’ll definitely be doing role-play exercises like these when I have kids.


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