Teaching Kids How to Handle Unwanted Presents

It’s happened to all of us: you’re eagerly ripping the paper off of a Christmas present or digging through the tissue paper in a gift bag, only to find a hideous sweater or an ugly piece of jewelry. You know better than to tell the giver how much you hate what you’re holding in your hands, so you smile and thank them with as much sincerity as you can muster. Sometimes, kids don’t always know how to react when they get something they didn’t want, or when they’re disappointed by the gift-giving process in general, so here are a few tips you can use to talk to them about how to handle unwanted Christmas presents.

Encourage them to Remember the Giver

Maybe Grandma got them socks, or maybe an aunt they never see gifted them t-shirts that are too big for them. Maybe dad gave them a video game that they think is the lamest thing in the world! Whatever the case may be, encourage your child to remember that the person who gave them the present is still a person, and that they have feelings. Whether they put effort into the present or not, and whether or not this effort is immediately obvious, they still gifted something, and even if it was a poor choice, it’s still a present.

Try to Find One Good Thing

Try introducing this concept indirectly, like by talking about mosquitoes. Now, hear me out: mosquitoes suck, they spread disease, and they’re just really annoying and make people really itchy when they bite you. But as awful as they are, they’re still a major food source for fish, frogs, and toads. There, you just found one good thing about mosquitoes! That ugly sweater your kid just got? It could make a great sweater to wear around the house when crafting! Those socks? You can make sock puppets or sock monkeys together! Even if you can’t think of anything inherently good about the present, another good thing is that you can always give it away to someone as a future present.

It’s not About Presents

If you celebrate Christmas, you likely understand that the whole point of the holiday is to treasure each other and be thankful for life and your loved ones. It’s not about the presents, and when you keep that in mind, it’s easier to let go of the disappointment you deal with when getting something awful. Teaching children to remember this, and then setting an example for them to follow, will help them feel the same way, too.

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