How to Actually Be Grateful for a Gift You Don't Want

There's no better time than the holiday season to practice gratitude, even if it isn't always all that easy to feel grateful when you get a not-so-perfect gift.

If you're terrible at pretending you're thrilled with a gift you don't care for, why fake it? Here's how to approach the situation with authentic gratitude, instead.

Understand the Intention

It can be a lot easier to be grateful for a so-so gift when you're able to temporarily put yourself in the shoes of the gift-giver. The fact that they gave you anything in the first place means they were thinking about you, and unless they're an actively malicious person, it's likely they had nothing but good intentions when they went out and got it for you. That's an act of kindness and generosity, regardless of whether the gift is actually something you wanted. Be grateful for the fact that someone cared enough to get you something, and if they look excited to give you the gift, be enthusiastic about that excitement. By being genuinely happy, and curious about their intention behind the gift, you'll automatically appreciate it more.


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Look at the Practical

Even if the gift isn't something you'd ever get for someone—let alone buy for yourself—do what you can to think about how it might come in handy. Maybe it's a not-so-cute piece of clothing, but will be warm and handy for layering, or simply lounging around the house when you won't be seen. Maybe it's something you can't really see yourself using, but that a friend might enjoy. If you can come up with even one application, whether it's for yourself or giving it to someone who'll get more use out of it, that's definitely something to be grateful for.


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Respond Kindly

While some people might find it a little dishonest to act appreciative about a gift you don't yet feel appreciative for, we think this is one of those situations where it's fine to fake it until you make it. When you open the gift, respond with a smile, look at the gift-giver, and politely give your thanks. Act naturally, and give them a hug of thanks if appropriate. Sometimes, just going through the motions will really help you feel as grateful as you appear. The simple act of writing a thank you note, even if it seems like a chore at first, can also reinforce this idea.


Practice Gratitude in Your Daily Life

If you regularly practice gratitude, it's not hard to be especially grateful, come gift-giving season. Start writing down the things you're grateful for before bed every night, or in the mornings to start off your days. At first, it might be hard to think of your life in that way, but it won't take long for you to get into the swing of things and then you'll begin to have too many things to list. Being grateful for what you have in your life will make you happier in general, and prime your brain to pick up on all the little things you appreciate in life. Everything from the warmth of a hot shower to the comfort of your cozy bed at night can begin to be sources of inspiration. When the time comes to open a gift, you'll instantly recognize what about it you're totally grateful for.


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If you still need to practice a bit before you reach gratitude, click HERE to find out how you respond to a bad gift, based on your zodiac sign.