By Tiffany Rudd
If you read our posts here and here about lying, you know that we've really tried to teach our kids to be honest and create an environment where they are free to tell the truth. This does, however, sometimes cause a slight problem when it comes to the holidays and gift receiving.
A few years ago my sweet, talkative and usually very honest son, was constantly creating awkward moments with his unintentionally unkind reactions to presents. Responses like "I already have one of these!" or "This isn't really what I wanted," were pretty embarrassing.
I remember debating what to do and being stumped, because, really, teaching him to tell a lie like, "This is the best gift I've ever gotten!" wouldn't exactly teach a life lesson I was happy about.
Luckily, I read an article about teaching kids how to receive gifts (maybe in Family Fun?) and realized that cringe worthy honesty and lying weren't the only two options. The next day our annual "Gift Receiving Practice Night" was born. I gathered a gift bag for each member of the family and instructed everyone to run around the house and choose any object to "give" as a gift. Then we traded bags and took turns opening them up. We talked about looking for honestly kind things we could say about each item and the right way to say thank you. For example, when you open up a dish towel, you don't mention how boring it may be, but you don't lie and say you'll have fun playing with it either. You may comment on how much you love the color or how soft it feels, or how great it will be for drying the dishes. Anything positive but still honest.
It turned about to be incredibly fun and it is still one of our favorite holiday kick-off traditions. The kids have fun picking items, like toothbrushes, that they know will be tricky to be positive about and we always get a good laugh out of some silly comments. But, the best part is, we haven't had an embarrassing response to a gift since our first practice night!