Getting the present reminded me of my favorite holiday lesson: How to Accept a Gift. I first saw a version of this lesson taught by an awesome counselor a few years ago and have since modified it (a little) to work with my teaching style. Here it is:
1. I open a previously wrapped present in front of my class (I wrap up an ugly sock). I tear the wrapping paper off without looking to see who it's from, I say mean things about it once it's open and then I go throw it away. Reactions to this are priceless...some stare at me in shock and some laugh like crazy...that alone will tell you a lot.
2. Next comes the discussion. I ask the kids, "What do you think was wrong with the way Mrs. Rist opened that package?" Hopefully I will get a few clever kids who come up with the words "rude" and "mean."
3. Then I open another previously wrapped package (it's the other ugly sock). This time I model the "correct" way by using the High Five Rules:
#1 Check to see who it's from (I say it's from one of my students and ask them to play along.)
#2 Show gratitude (Thank you SO much for buying me a gift. It was so kind of you to think of me!)
#3 Open it nicely!
#3 Open it nicely!
#4 Say thank you and mean it! (I model again a "thank you" that looks like I mean it and a "thank you" that looks like I'm just saying it because I have to!)
#5 Tell the person why you like it or how you will use it. (I think up all the fun ways I can use 1 sock: puppet, dusting mitt, etc.)
4. After my demonstration I will let a few kids try it also (I put random things into a Christmas bag b/c I just don't have time to wrap 24 fake presents!) I'll use paperclips, scraps of paper, a single pencil, etc. and the kids have to use the "High Five" method to accept the present.
5. Then we each get a "High Five" paper to color and take home so Moms and Dads can help their child practice.
6. Each day I'll pick a few more kids to model for us so we keep it fresh in our minds right up to Christmas.
7. If any of my kids bring me a Christmas present I make sure I do all 5 steps b/c they will watch and check! We also exchange coloring books at our Christmas party and we walk through the 5 steps when opening our presents.
That's it. Hope you find it useful. The handout is not cute but it gets the job done! Click on the picture if you'd like a copy.