Q&A Wednesday: Responding in style!

by Mindy Lockard on December 30, 2009

Today’s Q & A Wednesday comes from a question posted on the blog from our pre-Christmas gift opening blog



I love you, your blog and your always thoughtful suggestions.

But, as someone who was (sadly) not taught proper etiquette in this manner – could there be some fear that one might find a trained response to opening a gift as insincere? It seems like a fabulous child rearing idea, however, I am afraid that some gift givers may misconstrue it…


E brings up a very valuable point and one I should have made clear. I think the most important aspect to having a gracious response is not training IN the response, but training HOW to respond. E is correct, if we have a rehearsed response for every single gift, people will see right through it. A pat response is not a gracious response. It’s actually the opposite of a gracious response. Even when our intentions are pure, a rehearsed response may be misconstrued as lazy and insincere. We must teach our children (even practicing ourselves) how to be creative and gracious with responses. A gracious person keeps a pleasant disposition and takes time to think before they speak, making each response unique and sincere to the giver — even for an unfavorable gift.  The receiving process is not about us (the receiver) it’s about the giver.

Practice Tips:

One way to help children through this process is to have them wrap-up many different items (like we did in the video) from toys to underwear and have them practice saying something kind about each one and talk about non-verbal responses. It doesn’t matter what our words say if our our body language and facial expressions say otherwise. Practice opening a box with a smile, saying something kind about the gift and taking time to get up and give a hug or shake a hand and say “thank you … ” A gracious response is a gift in itself, and practice makes that gift perfect!

Another way to practice being grateful for acts of kindness and gifts is to sharpen our Thank-You writing.  A sincere note of thanks is a treasure.  Trust me, the recipient of your thanks will know if you are writing from your heart or just to finish the task.  Just talking through the process helps Elle and Maggie practice responding. 

Dear Katy,

I so enjoyed our time with you at our pre-Christmas celebration!  Thank you so much for your thoughtful gift of “The Help” – it is a book that has been on my wish list for a long time.  I can’t wait to snuggle up and relax after Christmas and get lost in a book.  Our friendship is a treasure and I’m so blessed to call you sister-in-law!

Best, Mindy


Dear Katy,

Thank you for the book.  I look forward to reading it.  It was nice seeing you at Christmas.

Sincerely, Mindy

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Karin Schroeck-Singh 02.01.10 at 2:00 pm

I just saw the video and thought “What a great idea to let your kids do the teaching of etiquette (for that particular topic)!” Well done Mindy!

Mindy Lockard 02.01.10 at 2:06 pm

Karin! Thank you. That means so much coming from an industry professional. I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment! Best, Mindy

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