The following article is from a parenting program called Parenting is Heart Work. They send out emails with parenting tips. This was in my mailbox this morning. Thought I'd share.
Gratefulness is an important life quality because it helps us to be thankful for what we have instead of complaining about what we don't have. Gratefulness is a lifestyle but it starts by saying "Thank you" to others who bless us.
Begin now to prepare your children for receiving gifts. Talk about the importance of the giver, not just the gift. Teach children to look at the nametag first so they can be thinking of the person who gave the gift while they open it. Encourage children to express thanks to the giver, even if that person is not in the room at the time. A phone call to extended family or a thank you note to a distant friend can mean a lot.
Gift receiving sometimes provides that awkward moment when we want to ask, "What is this?" or discover that we already have one of these. Play a "What if" game with children to help them anticipate how they might say thank you in those times.
Opening gifts can happen fast and then children are off playing with new toys and games. Helping them to take time to express gratefulness can extend the true meaning of Christmas past the few hours of Christmas Day. And don't forget to take time to thank the Lord for his special gift in Jesus Christ for us.
We have done this in our home. We also practice around birthdays too. I have even had my children play a little game where I wrap up toys from around the house and give one to each child. They get to 'give' one to a sibling and we practice etiquette in gift opening. I want to also implement the rule that we don't play with or use the gift until a thank you note has been sent in the mail.