How To Accept Gifts More Gracefully: 11 Tips

Written by: Lara
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Hand holding a gift
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Do you ever find yourself at a loss for words when someone hands you a gift? Ever muttered something totally awkward like “That’s way too expensive!” in that moment? If so, you’re in the right place! In this post, we’ll share 11 simple tips to help you accept gifts with grace and poise.

Whether it’s a gift you love or one you’re not keen on, we’ll tell you exactly how to accept gifts gracefully and maintain healthy relationships with your loved ones!

Side note on accepting gifts

Before I can start teaching you how to accept gifts more gracefully, there is one thing I need 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.

In case you DON’T want to accept the gift (because you always have a choice), check out my other guide on how to reject a gift without hurting the relationship.

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How to accept gifts gracefully?

How to accept gifts gracefully: 11 tips

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 to do that, we need to think about the other person that’s involved here too; the giver.

And that’s why you should know more about the giver’s cultural background, so you can adopt the right gifting etiquette.

In some countries, particularly Asian countries it’s appropriate to decline a gift a few times before accepting it. In other countries, you can’t open your gift in front of the giver (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, so it would be awkward you you would not accept it with grace.

Knowing this will help you to understand the giver, and thát will help you to accept a gift more gracefully.

Tip 2: Learn how to receive in general

Struggle to accept compliments, help, or even gifts? Do you often respond to compliments by belittling yourself (“Oh this old bag? It was only 5 bucks”)? If this sounds like you, it’s likely you have a lower sense of self-worth and worry about others judging you.

Recognize yourself in any of these scenarios? If so, the first step to accepting gifts gracefully is to start loving yourself more.

Now obviously, me saying you are perfect and you should love yourself isn’t going to change anything and it’s not going to help you right away when someone is offering a gift.

So here’s a quick tip for the moment you receive a gift:

If you think you’re not worthy of the gift and tend to put yourself down, shift your focus. Instead of how you feel, think about the giver’s feelings. Imagine how disappointing they will feel if their effort and excitement are met with rejection.

Remember, people enjoy giving—it brings them joy to make someone else happy. By gracefully accepting their gift, you’re not only boosting your own self-worth but also allowing them to experience the joy of giving.

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

Notebook with "love yourself"
Photo by Annie Spratt 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 to be grateful for.

Sure, you can be grateful for the gift itself, it may be something you’ve always wanted and it’s great to appreciate that. But this doesn’t work if it’s a gift you don’t like.

So before you open the gift, I would advise you to be thankful for the fact that the giver cared enough about you to bring 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. Plus, this feeling of gratitude 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 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 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 taking 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 honest 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 better to wait until you’ve finished opening yours and thanked the giver. That way, the giver can actually watch you open it and have a 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 considered ungrateful if you don’t open it immediately.

So to avoid misinterpretation, ask the giver if you should open it now or later. Communication is key!

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 like the gift.

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

This one’s a bit tricky.

Often, (unless you’re a great actor) your face shows exactly how you feel about a not-so-great gift. So here’s my 2 cents on handling the situation with grace, assuming the giver had good intentions.

Firstly, don’t outright lie by saying you love it. While we all tell a white lie every once in a while, I would argue that honesty goes a long way.

You can appreciate the fact that they brought you a gift without focusing on the gift itself. A simple, “Thank you so much for thinking of me,” works wonders. This shows gratitude without committing to liking the gift itself.

If the gift really isn’t your style, you might mention it tactfully. If the giver offers, they might let you exchange it or provide a receipt.

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 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?

In any case, once you’ve expressed thanks, what you do with the gift is up to you—keep it, donate it, or pass it along to someone who might appreciate it more.

Blue gift box
Photo by Melody Jacob on Unsplash

Tip 9: Treat the gift with care

Whether you love the gift or not, always handle it with care. Instead of tossing it aside, place it somewhere safe or use it immediately. For instance, if it’s a scarf, try wearing it right away. This shows respect and appreciation for the giver’s effort.

Tip 10: Send a thank you note

If you didn’t open the gift in the giver’s presence, it’s important to let them know you’ve received and opened it. Givers appreciate knowing their gift was acknowledged, even if it’s just money, so sending a thank-you note is a thoughtful gesture. The most personal (and time-consuming) way to thank someone is through handwritten notes such as “Thank you for the (gift), you know me so well.”

If handwritten notes are too much effort, you can also send a text. But in that case, I would highly advise you to go for a more personal message than the example. Otherwise, it might come across as ungrateful. If you need a little help with finding a sweet, but funny thing to send to the giver, check out these hilarious thank-you messages!

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. 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?

A 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 etiquette.


Hi, I’m Lara, a 30-year-old travel-lover (but who’s not these days?). I love reading, puzzling, world-heritage sites, researching, and making lists, which comes in quite handy when you’re making lists of travel gift ideas!