How To Accept Gifts More Gracefully: 11 Tips

By Lara
Last update:
Hand holding a gift

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Are you someone who struggles to receive gifts gracefully? Have you ever blurted out something so awkward when someone gave you a present? Then this I the perfect post for you. You will find 11 tips that will teach you how to accept gifts in a refined manner. From learning how to accept a gift you don’t like, to learning gift etiquette once you’ve received your gift, all will be covered today!

Side note

Before we head into the 11 tips to teach you how to accept gifts more gracefully, there is one thing I want to say.

For the sake of this post, I will be assuming you actually want to accept the gift, but you just don’t want to make it awkward.

I’m planning to write a post about how and when to reject a gift in the future. (For example, when the intention of the gifter is to lure you into doing something you don’t want to do, aka a bribe). But for now, we will focus on gifts that a pure-hearted.

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How to accept gifts gracefully?

11 Tips on how to accept gifts gracefully

Tip 1: Think of the giver’s cultural background               

I know, I know, this post is meant to be about you and how you can accept gifts more gracefully. But in order to do that, we actually need to think about the other person that’s involved here too; the giver.

And before you can use any of the tips that follow, you should know about the giver’s cultural background, because that way you can adopt the right gifting etiquette.

In some countries, it’s appropriate to first decline a gift a few times before you can accept it. In other countries, you can’t open your gift in front of the gifter (see tip #6 for more about that). And in some countries, it’s common practice to bring a small gift for the host of a dinner or tea party.

Knowing this will help you to understand the giver, and thát will help you to accept a gift more gracefully. More about how understanding the giver will help you in tip #3.

Tip 2: Learn how to receive in general

If you are reading this post, you are probably one of those people who finds it hard to receive anything really. Whether it’s a gift, help, or a compliment.

If you often respond to compliments by denying or undermining yourself (“Oh this old bag? It was only 5 bucks”), there is a big chance you often think bad of yourself, you have a negative sense of self-worth, and you don’t want others to think anything bad about you.

Did you tick any of these three boxes (or all)?

Then the best way to learn how to accept gifts is to learn to love yourself more. Obviously, you can’t just change your sense of self-worth right there when someone is offering you a gift. But if accepting gifts is something you struggle with quite often, it’s a good idea to start working on self-love and the way you perceive yourself.

Notebook with "love yourself"
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

And now a tip that could actually help you at that very moment.

Since you still think you’re not worthy enough to receive a gift. You will probably say something awkward and bring yourself down while taking the gift. And to avoid that, my advice is to stop thinking about how you feel when someone is offering a gift. Instead, think of how the giver feels.

How do you think it feels when you’ve put all this effort into finding an awesome present and then the recipient doesn’t accept it? Or someone you love says something like “oh you really shouldn’t have done that”?

I’ll tell you.

They will feel like shit. They might feel rejected and think you don’t care about them. So in short, by not accepting gifts gracefully(and not seeing your own worth) you are not only hurting yourself but the giver as well.

People love giving, it makes them feel great to make someone else happy and to do something for someone they love. So by not accepting their gift, you are literally taking that feeling of joy away from them.

Now, if that’s not a good enough argument to start accepting gifts without hesitation, then I am not sure how to help you.

Two people holding a gift
Photo by Olivia Bollen on Unsplash

Tip 3: Be grateful

I know, it’s a cliché. But before you skip this tip, I want to say a few things about what exactly I would advise you to be grateful for.

Sure, you can be grateful for the gift itself, it may be something you’ve always wanted or something you could really use. And it’s great to appreciate that.

But before you open the gift, I would advise you to be thankful for the fact that the giver cared enough about you to actually give you something.

Whether it’s something you will love or not, be thankful for the love that’s hidden in this gift.

I am just going to throw in another cliché; it’s the spirit that counts.

If you can summon this feeling of gratitude before you’ve even opened the gift, I guarantee you will learn how to accept gifts gracefully in no time. Because it will also help you to follow the next tips more sincerely and thus gracefully.

Plate with "grateful"
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Tip 4: Tell the giver you are grateful

In other words, say thank you.

Now, again this is not the most unique advice and it’s probably one that your parents really hammered on when you grew up.

But I can’t stress it enough. No matter how grateful you feel, if you don’t tell them they won’t know.

And this is also where the sincere feeling of gratitude comes in. If you don’t feel it, it’s quite hard to thank someone sincerely.

And here is one more tip for the people who struggle to accept gifts gracefully because of a low self-esteem.

Do not, and I repeat, do not bring yourself down when thanking someone.

So don’t say things like  “that’s too much”, “you shouldn’t have”, or “I feel bad because I don’t have anything for you”.

Instead, say something that shows appreciation for the person who is giving this to you. “Thank you, you are so thoughtful” or “Thank you, that’s so kind”. or “Thank you, I didn’t expect that, I really appreciate you took the time to bring me something”.

Tip 5: Don’t lie about having a gift for them as well

Honestly, I didn’t even know people did this. But if you are one of those people, I’ll be straight with you. It’s never a good idea to lie about something you don’t have.

But if you do have a gift, now could be the time to give that back.

Though, I would also argue that it’s nicer to wait until you’ve finished opening yours and thanked the giver. That way, the giver can actually watch you open it and have their moment of feeling great about giving. But that’s all up to you.

If you live somewhere where it is common to give something in return, you could think about having a few “emergency gifts” at home. These could be simple things like gift cards or a bath gift set. So you will never find yourself in a situation where you don’t have a return gift.  

Hand holding card wit "you are lying"
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Tip 6: Ask if you can open the gift now

This is why it’s important to know the giver’s cultural background. In some countries, it’s inappropriate to open the gift right away. Whereas in other cultures it’s actually considered ungrateful if you don’t open it immediately.

So to avoid misinterpretation of how you feeling about receiving this gift (which I assume is grateful, otherwise go back to tip #1), ask the giver if you should open it now or later. Communication is key here.

Child unwrapping gifts
Photo by Eli Pluma on Unsplash

Tip 7: How to receive gifts you love.

Well, this is an easy one. If you love something it’s quite easy to be sincere.

All you have to do now is to express how you’re feeling.

Remember, giving makes people feel good, but even better if they know you actually like it.

So again, tell the giver that you love it and since you actually love it, you can get specific. What do you like about it specifically or how are you going to use it?

For example, “I love this color”, “I’ve been looking for something like this for ages” or if it’s something for your home “this will look great in my living room”. When it’s a gift card or cash, you say something about what you will spend it on.

Man gifting a box of positivity cans
Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Tip 8: How to receive gifts you don’t love

Now, this is the tricky one. Because unless you are a great actor, your face will probably show how you feel. And as I said before, givers want you to like their gift. And you don’t want to hurt their feelings, so here are some of my tips on how to gracefully deal with this kind of situation.

And again, we are assuming the intention of the giver is good. So in no way did they intend to make you feel bad.

So first, don’t lie and say you love it.

Notebook with "I must not tell lies"
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Lying is never a good option, so try to avoid it if you can.

Obviously, we all tell a white lie every once in a while. And if you really think it’s better to lie and say you love it, then who am I to tell you not to?

But generally speaking, my advice would be to remember tip 3. Be grateful for the fact that the giver actually brought you something. Thank them again, and instead of focusing on the gift you just say something about the act of giving. “how kind of you to bring me a gift”.

Once you’ve thanked them sincerely, you can do with the gift what you want. Donate it, give it to someone else, throw it away.

Alternatively, you could also be honest and say it’s not really your style or something like that. If the giver still has a receipt he or she might give it to you and you return it or change it for something else.

Personally, I wouldn’t ask for the receipt. But it depends on how well you know the giver, whether it’s appropriate in the giver’s culture, and how you personally feel about asking for the receipt. But think about this before you do: What if the roles were reversed? Would it hurt your feelings if the receiver asked for a receipt for a gift you thought they would love?

Blue gift box
Photo by Melody Jacob on Unsplash

Tip 9: Treat the gift with care

Whether you loved the gift or not, always treat the gift with care and love. Don’t throw it in a corner (or worse, the trash) straight away. Instead, place it somewhere safe or put it where you intend to use it straight away. For example, if it’s a scarf, you can wear it straight away.

Tip 10: Send a thank you note

If you didn’t open the gift in front of the giver, this is particularly important. Givers like to know whether you’ve opened the gift yet, and of course, whether you liked the gift.

Even if it’s money, you should always send a thank you note. Because for all the recipient knows, their envelope could have gotten lost and you never received their gift.

The most personal way is to send handwritten notes with something like “Thank you for (fill in gift), you know me so well”.

But you could also send a text message if handwritten notes are too much effort. But in that case, I would highly advise you to go for a more personal message than the example I gave. Otherwise, it might come across as ungrateful.

Tip 11: Let the giver know when you’re using their gift

I will say it one last time. Givers love the feeling of giving good gifts.

So by letting them know you’re actually using (and hopefully enjoying) their gift, you will show them again how much you liked their gift. And you will be doing them a great favor.

So whether you’re spending the gift card, wearing the shoes, or drinking the wine they gave you. Send them a photo or a message in which you tell them how happy you are with their gift.

Two people toasting with wine
Photo by Zan on Unsplash

Save these tips on how to accept gifts

Don’t forget to save these tips on how to accept gifts gracefully on Pinterest!

How to accept gifts gracefully?

Final note on how to receive gifts

Alright, I hope these 11 steps will help you to accept your next gift with grace. And while you are practicing receiving, you may also want to learn how to give better gifts. For that, check out my other posts on gifting etiquettes.