Last Updated on November 26, 2019
Gift etiquette can seem tricky, but it really is not so. If you are going to give a gift, it all boils down to thinking about the recipient.
I wrote a whole big long post about gift giving etiquette with 15 tips, but all the little rules and guidelines are just ways to help you think about things from the other person’s perspective. Ultimately, it is all about the other person. It’s about the recipient.
Well, the same thing goes when receiving a gift. How do you receive a gift the right way? Just think about how would you like the recipient to react when you give them a present. That’s how you should react when you receive a gift.
Again, it is simply a matter of being mindful and others-centered.
Sill, it’s a good idea to think through the specifics of gift etiquette. Let’s talk about how to receive a gift properly and how to do so with the right kind of response.
Below are the very best gift receiving etiquette tips for any occasion. In a word (well, two words): Show thankfulness.
That’s it. Say thank you, and show it with your manner. Isn’t that exactly how you would like someone to react when you give them a gift? Exactly.
So here we go: Gift etiquette on how to receive a gift the right way. See below for tips and a quick TL;DR at the end.
What to do when you receive a gift
Say “Thank you” with sincerity.
If you have a gift for them, go get it. Never, ever lie and say you have one but forgot it. People know that trick and it is lame, so avoid it.
Consider keeping an emergency stash of $10-25 coffee shop or online gift certificates on hand in a card, especially around the holidays.
If you don’t have a gift for them, DO NOT comment about how sorry you are that you didn’t get them anything. They don’t (or shouldn’t) care. If you start down that road, you make them feel bad that you feel bad, and it just ruins the moment. Simply say thanks, and tell them how touched and excited you are.
Ask if you can open it right away. The person who got you the gift wants to see how thrilled you are at receiving it. Occasionally (depending on the situation) they may want it to be a special surprise saved for later, which is why it is good to ask.
If you receive something you don’t like or can’t use, respond to the spirit of the gift rather than the gift itself.
Comment on a specific thing about the gift that you appreciate.
If someone has given a gift card or money, let them know how you might use it.
If it is something you already have, don’t say so. Instead, say something like, “Wow, what a great gift!”
Later, write a Thank You note. Like, literally write it.
Specific things to say when you receive a gift
When someone gives you a gift, it is important to them that the gift is well-received. The trouble with getting a gift, however, is that sometimes it is a terrible choice. Sometimes you already have the item, or simpy have no use for it. Sometimes it’s offensive to your beliefs and the things you care deeply about; other times the gift has the right sort of theme but is low quality or your expertise on the subject is way beyond the gift.
In any of those instances and more, you will want to be ready to respond well. An easy way to do this is to expect a “dud” gift and prepare to respond to that. Like I said above, always respond to the spirit of the gift rather than the gift itself.
You should also have a few specific stock phrases in mind. These are comments that show your thankfulness and appreciation for the gift giver’s thoughtfulness while not lying about it.
- Thank you!
- Thanks, this really means a lot to me!
- No way! Thank you, I’m really into ____!
- Wow, what a great gift!
- I’m totally blessed that you would give me this!
- This is so unique!
- You are so thoughtful!
- Thank you for thinking of me!
Exchanging bad gifts
Since it is a gift, you are free to do with it as you please. However, use your discretion. If the giver of the gift is easily hurt or offended, you would do well to just set the gift aside in your closet.
Otherwise, you can exchange it for something that you would like and use. For instance, if you received a coffee maker but already have one, just tell the person if they ask that you have duplicates and so you exchanged it for a cold brew coffee system or a new tea kettle.
Too long? Here is how to receive a gift the right way in seven simple bullet points:
- Say thank you with sincerity.
- If you have a gift for them, go get it. Otherwise, don’t mention that you didn’t get anything for them.
- Ask if you can open the gift right away.
- Respond to the spirit of the gift, especially if it is something you already have or don’t like.
- Mention something specific about the gift that you appreciate.
- If it is a gift card or money, let them know how you might use it.
- Write a Thank You note.
Share the knowledge!
- 10 Heartwarming Sympathy Gift Ideas for a Grieving Friend When someone close to you loses a loved one, you want to do something to express your condolences and communicate that you are grieving alongside your...
- 12 Amazingly Clean Movies You’ve Probably Never Seen Here are 12 amazing (and amazingly clean) movies you've probably never seen. Maybe you've never even heard of these. All the better, because you're...
- How to make Homeless Care Kits that ACTUALLY help So you want to bless the homeless or those less fortunate than you, but you don't want your efforts to be counterproductive. What should you put in ho...
- 100 Hilarious Quote Ideas for DIY Funny Birthday Cards You can spend five bucks on a pre-made card that is moderately funny, or you can make your own DIY funny birthday card that is actually hilarious. It'...
- 100+ Best “We Go Together Like…” Quotes We go together like... Copy and paste. Scarlett & Rhett. PB & J. If you're looking for the "perfect pair," we've gotcha covered. H...
- 20 Sympathy Gifts for Parents Who Have Lost a Child Today we are sharing with you 20 heartfelt sympathy gifts for parents who have lost a child. There is no greater pain in this world than losing a c...
- 21 Best Housewarming Gifts (That They Will Actually Use) How about let's give housewarming gifts that the new homeowners will actually use. After all, visiting a friend or family member who just purchased...
- 44 Best Gift Exchange Games & Clever Ideas for the Holidays How can I make my gift exchange more fun? Are you tired of just drawing names for the yearly holiday gift exchange? You want to breathe some new, c...
- 12 Thoughtful Gifts for Adult Children If you're in the market for gifts for adult children, you likely need a little inspiration finding the best ones. You know the days are long gone w...
- The Massive List of Family-Friendly Movies That Grownups Love Too This is your go-to list for great family-friendly movies that grownups love too. Nearly 500 clean family-friendly movies that are appropriate for a...