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Does Receiving a Gift Stress You Out?

December 12, 2023

With the holidays approaching, many of us are starting the shopping scramble, trying to find the perfect gifts for the people we love. And that comes with a certain amount of stress.

While I consider myself a pretty good gift giver, I have certainly experienced the occasional look of puzzlement as someone opens my gift and even an outright rude recipient, which led me to wonder…why are some people better at accepting gifts than others? And what does the exchange of gifts really represent?


The Giver

Gift-giving is more than just an exchange of physical items. It's a way of showing love, appreciation, and care for the person you're giving the gift to. Thoughtful gift-giving represents the giver's desire to connect with the recipient on a deeper level and express their feelings. It's often not about the gift itself, but the intention behind it.

By putting effort into choosing a gift that aligns with the recipient's interests or needs, the giver is saying, "I see you and I value you." It's a way of nurturing relationships and creating a sense of belonging. When you receive a thoughtful gift, it's important to recognize and appreciate the time, thought, and care that went into choosing it.

Not only that, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve found myself enjoying being the giver even more than the receiver. Watching someone open a gift that I’ve chosen for them is often the highlight of my holidays.

Which is why being a good recipient is important, too.


The Receiver

As odd as this might sound, there is a certain amount of stress in receiving gifts – especially receiving gifts graciously.

According to Torey C. Richards, LMHC, “Some people feel awkward about the attention that comes along with receiving a gift. Often they feel like the spotlight is on them, even if no one else is around, and may be embarrassed.”

Also, “Some people have self-esteem issues or aren’t used to people doing anything nice for them so they will reject any gift. They may feel like they haven’t done anything to deserve the gift, even if the person giving the gift feels otherwise. The more expensive or thoughtful the gift is, the more likely it is that someone will think that they aren’t worth it. They will feel uncomfortable and even overwhelmed.”

Now, as I mentioned above, I’ve experienced someone not receiving a gift well that had nothing to do with low self-esteem – they just didn’t seem to know how to do it. But I do understand how in some cases it might trigger a feeling of insecurity in which case a simple “thank you” is all that’s necessary.

So, as we embark on the holiday season, remember that the gift you often give another person is the positive reaction and response you give when you open it. That’s often all we need to feel the holiday spirit!

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