Holiday time of the year is an exciting, yet stressful time of the year. Not only is our attention on the different Holiday preparations, but making sure we buy the ‘just right’ gifts. Giving and receiving gifts at this time of year is part of the magic of the season. Knowing how to react when receiving and giving gifts can be very hard for many (children and adults alike). Today we will focus on what we need to think about when giving and receiving gifts.

Smile when all else fails

Our faces often are the biggest give away when receiving gifts. Joy, disappointment, disgust and excitement are said in one look. A discussion on how important it is to smile when receiving a less than perfect gift will save a lot of hard feelings. Practice with your loved one by wrapping up a variety of items (some exciting and some not so exciting).

Actions speak louder than words

Just like our faces, our body language can set the tone for an enjoyable gift exchange – or not. Along with the smile mentioned above, discuss and practice controlling body language and gestures.

Magic little words

Thank you. Two words that go the distance at this time and throughout the year. Talk about how giving gifts isn’t about the actual item. Gift giving is about sharing and showing how you feel about someone. An emotional thank you is all the kind words the gift bearer needs to hear.

Get a little help from your friends

Talk to your Speech Therapist about ways to incorporate practicing these important social skills into therapy sessions. Ask for ideas to help with home carryover or practice at home.

The code word is…

Create a code word or phrase between you and your loved one that will help to guide their facial expressions and reactions. For example, when you say a particular word or phrase (ie: “Isn’t that lovely.”), your loved one will respond or answer with a particular action or phrase (ie: “Yes, it is. Thank you.”). Creating a code word or phrase also tells your loved one that YOU are aware there is an issue with the gift and you will both work to make it better later.

Double the fun

Nothing crushes a gift giver more than hearing, “I already have one of these.” Practice an acceptable response with your loved one if they receive two of something. Responding with a simple, “These are the best.” or “This is great.” is the safest way to manage this type of situation.

The Cat’s out of the bag

Announcing a gift item as the receiver is opening it takes the excitement out of the room quickly. Discuss and practice how to wait patiently while a gift is being opened. Give your loved one simple ‘jobs’ or responsibilities to complete while gifts are being opened. For example, assigning the job of collecting the wrapping paper to go in a trash bag or gathering the bows may help.

Gift giving and receiving is a very exciting and important part of the Holiday season. Practicing the social skills of giving and receiving gifts ahead of time will make for a celebration everyone can enjoy!

adult giving child a holiday gift
child opening gift
adult and child looking at newly opened gift

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