How to Give and Receive Gifts Graciously During the Holidays
Writing about the 12 Days of Christmas, presents, trees, decorations and even the gorgeous lights in the different towns we visit sometimes seems a little pointless. So many other people are doing the same thing! It’s almost overload.
So, I have decided to write about the gift-giving side of Christmas, which, whether you like it or not, is blown out of all proportion. In some families even, gifts for the children take 12 months to pay off.
This article, however, isn’t about children who are privileged. I’d also like to make it clear that I don’t believe the head-in-the-sand, Ostrich Effect is an excuse for not educating children to the benefits of giving, as well as receiving at Christmas.
None of the above! This article is about women of all ages and the ability to receive; gratefully and graciously. Gracious. Such an old-fashioned word for an old-fashioned virtue that seems to be sadly lacking in society. But the subject of grace and graciousness will have to wait.
As children, we all know how to receive; witness the sticky lips and squeals of delight on Christmas morning. Children never have a problem receiving, which is as it should be. And they also can be taught, quite young, the joy of giving, and that gifts are not a form of ransom. Parents, grandparents, friends and relations, give presents from love … not because they’re looking for something!
Many Women Love to Give, Give, Give!
As women, particularly when we are over 30 and certainly when we are over 60, we often have to learn to receive. That’s the way it is for many women who are still locked into give, give, give. We all know, and if we don’t know we must learn, that giving and receiving are a two-way street; emotionally, physically and mentally.
Why don’t women know how to receive? Self-esteem! You knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?!
We are usually the last to know just how low our self-esteem has plummeted, until we start listening to our language: “Oh no, I couldn’t accept such a lovely gift”; “You’re too kind to me”; “I’m not worth someone spending so much money on me.”
Speaking for myself, and I’d like to know how many of you feel the same, I sometimes want to physically slap women when I hear them come out with this type of sentence! Get a grip! Yes, you can accept anything that’s offered because you’re more than worth it.
I know I keep harping on about self-esteem, but unfortunately you see it every day, somewhere near you. It may even be you! The woman with low self-esteem.
Working to raise your self-esteem is not something that is especially easy and there is never a simple solution. I’ve probably said it before, but there are a few things you can do to start raising your self-esteem and although they may sound simplistic, they do work. If you do them!
Keep a Journal or Gratitude Book
Always top of the list. It doesn’t matter what you write or when; just write. You can add five things for which you are grateful every day, or simply add To Do Lists if that really is the best you can do. Making a habit of adding something every day will change what you write.
Take a Different Perspective
For example, thank the birds for waking you up; you’re still alive and they sound better than a lawn mower. Make the most of your breakfast cereal; porridge can be boring so add some blueberries!
Enjoy the brightness of the sunlight coming in through the windows and if it’s raining, enjoy the coolness of the overcast sky; every day is beautiful if you choose. Be grateful the car starts or the bus arrives on time!
Nothing looks more generous than a smile. It adds to the positive energy in the world as well as boosting your energy and that of other people. Everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.
Often. Laughter really is the best medicine and will do wonders to boost your self-esteem.
Remember the dreams you had as a child and if you want, choose to live them. There is no “use by” date on your dreams. You’re not a bottle of milk.
Give to Yourself Constantly and You Can Give to Others Endlessly
Truer than true! When people give you gifts or do something unexpected for you, a simple heartfelt “thank you” is the only response needed.
If somebody, anybody, decides to present you with something you don’t feel you deserve, remember to turn that nasty little worm of a phrase around and boot it out of your brain. You deserve everything you’re given; now and at any other time of the year.
Christmas is about giving and I know you will be giving plenty to others, so why not give yourself the gift of receiving with the joy and love with which it was given!
Are you a woman who loves to give? How have you channelled that desire to spread kindness in ways that don’t involve money? How do react when you hear women refuse gifts? How have you learned to receive gifts with grace and gratitude? Please share in the comments.
Penelope Jane Whiteley is the self-appointed Queen of Aging Disgracefully. She helps other women to live their life on their own terms, to be true to themselves, to do and say what they want, to stop living within other people’s expectations and to abandon the quest for perfection with apologies to nobody. Please follow her on Twitter @the_pjwhiteley.