Practice to Be a Cheerful Receiver

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cheerful receiver


Christmas is rapidly approaching! In the midst of yuletide hustle and bustle there are many opportunities to teach our children to be cheerful givers, but have we taken time to teach them to be cheerful receivers?

If your kids are like mine, they don’t always have their filters on when they speak. With the excitement that comes with Christmas, and the hopes and expectations of receiving a gift, honest opinions voiced may not always reflect thankfulness.

I want my children to know how to be cheerful receivers, even when it’s hard. One way to practice is by playing: The Thankful Game.

  • Select random things around your house to use as “gifts” such as an old book, pair of socks, sweater (ugly if you have it), a bar of soap, etc.
  • Wrap one gift for each of your children. Use pretty paper and make it look special.
  • One at a time, have each child open their “gift.” They must say thank you for the item, and give at least one honest positive comment about it.

Initially you may need to help your kids think of nice things to say. With an ugly sweater you can suggest, “Wow, this looks like it will keep me really warm!” If they are confused over hygiene from receiving the bar of soap, you might suggest, “Thanks, I really like the fresh scent.”

It’s easy to focus on how we feel about the gifts we receive, opposed to the person giving the gift. We may not understand why a gift is given. A gift exchange at co-op might produce a thrift store used book because the giver thought it was of special interest, or it may be all the giver could afford. Maybe the bar of soap received from a youth group friend was homemade and the giver labored to make it just right.

I do not want my children to lie and proclaim an ugly sweater beautiful, but I do want them to express appreciation to the giver. Practicing thankfulness for crazy things around the house can be a fun way to identify what not to say. It’s certainly going to generate much laughter as you consider the unique ways to express appreciation.

We will not understand the motivation behind every gift we receive. It is important we respond cheerfully. It is a joy when I see my children expressing thankfulness over a gift received.


Teresa is a wife and busy homeschooling mom. With a passion for writing, she shares the adventures and lessons of her faith, family and homeschool.

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"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).