3 Kind Things to Say When you Didn’t Get the Gift you Wanted

a mother giving a present to her daughter

“What made you think this is something I would like?” 

“Oh, this isn’t the color I wanted.”

“Are you sure this gift was for me?”

“You kept the receipt, right?”

No, these aren’t words muttered by a five-year-old; unfortunately, these cringe-worthy comments came from my almost mid-twenties’ lips. Regretfully, youth or ignorance wasn’t to blame,  just a general lack of care mixed with selfishness.

I have spent many a Christmas morning in tears. Not tears flowing from overwhelming love and gratitude, but tears from disappointment and feeling let down. Like most other celebrations, the anticipation is far more exciting than the reality. Thus, when the event actually takes place, I’m usually disappointed because instead of finding joy at the moment, I critique and compare it to the preconceived notion I had in my head, and rarely do they match up. Christmas time, specifically when it comes to gift-giving, only exacerbates the situation, bringing out the worst in me. 

Thankfully, I’ve learned to check my heart and choose my words carefully when a gift doesn’t quite match my expectations. 

Check out 3 kind things to say when you get the gift you didn’t want:

1. “Thank you”

Saying thank you seems like an obvious answer, but a simple “thank you” is all that is needed. Whether we like the gift or not, we should be thankful for the giver, acknowledging their thoughtfulness and generosity.  As an over-thinker, I have to restrain myself from talking too much, especially when transitioning to flattery to conceal my dislike. In this situation, is flattery a bad thing?  A white lie to protect the gift giver’s feelings? While our intentions are good, the answer is yes; it is never okay to lie.

Numerous times in the book of Proverbs, we see how flattery is like an adulterous woman ( Proverbs 7:5). Flattery says, “how can I look better?” where a compliment says, “How can you look better?”. Let’s look at ways we can be sincere in our responses, choosing to compliment instead of flatter:

“Thank you; I am so grateful to have such a dear friend.”

“You are always so thoughtful.”

“You have such a gift of generosity. Thank you for sharing your resources with me.”

All three responses express genuine gratitude. They are not dependent on the present but recognize that family and friendship are a gift in themselves. 

“Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.” (Proverbs 13:3 NLT)


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