A gift requires two people — a giver and a receiver.
Many of us are good givers but not so good at receiving.
Christmas is over, but before we leave it behind for another year, pause and reflect with me about whether you were a good receiver of the gifts that came to you.
To receive a gift gracefully is a gift in itself.
Ever searched for the perfect gift and when the receiver opened it, you heard, “Oh, you shouldn't have! I can't accept it. It's just too much. You shouldn't have spent your hard-earned money on me. You need it worse than I do.”
Or “Thanks — but did you see what my friend gave me?” — or, “Sorry but this is the wrong size.”
Leaves you wondering why you bothered and disappointed that it was not met with the same enthusiasm you had when you wrapped it in anticipation of it being opened.
One of my favorite Christmas moments was in 2009, when my 11-year-old grandson Sebastian was visiting.
He lives in St. Paul, Minn., and is a big Minnesota Vikings/Adrian Peterson fan.
My friend Gene had bought Sebastian a Vikings jersey that Peterson had worn in a game.
When Sebastian opened the gift, he jumped up and down and twirled around, delight showing in every ounce of him.
That is the best receiving of a gift I've ever witnessed.
Although accepting gifts is difficult for some, it is an art that can be learned.
Perhaps that would be a good New Year's resolution?
All you have to do is practice the words, “Thank you so much. That was really thoughtful of you and I am glad to have it (or wear it or read it or use it).”
Of course, if you want to practice giving a hug or jumping up and down and twirling around, that's even better.
Charlotte Lankard is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice. Contact her at email@example.com.