With Christmas in just 2 days I thought it was timely to remind the children about thankfulness and gratefulness for what they are given. We spend a lot of time in the lead up to Christmas focusing on Jesus and the true meaning of the season, discussing how we can bless others and think of others first etc. but we are realistic and know that if there are presents involved, they are usually where the focus and excitement of the young (and not so young!) children will be.
Like many families, our children are very blessed to receive gifts from close and extended family on Christmas day and we want them to enjoy these, but at the same time remember the preciousness of the giver and the importance of showing thankfulness for what they receive.
A friend of mine (thanks Cherub) gave a group of Mothers and I some excellent suggestions a while ago about receiving gifts and how she has taught her children to show good manners and thankfulness when they receive their gifts. She has the child say thank you as they receive their present and take it to sit next to the gift giver to open it. The children know that it is considered good manners to open the card first and read it (or have it read to you) before opening the gift. Once open, they spend a little time looking at and playing with the item as well as thanking the giver with some specific comments before moving on.
I think this is a brilliant idea and we will be endeavouring to encourage our children to go through this process this year. We have talked about what to do and say (or not say!) in a variety of situations including:
- when they already have the same item at home
- the kinds of comments they can say to the gift giver once the present is opened
- the importance of being truthful whilst respecting the thought, time, money and effort that the giver has gone to in order to give them their gifts
- some tactful ways to respond when the gift is not something they like, want or need. Let’s face it, that happens at times.
- guarding their facial expressions when they see the gift for the first time