Gift Giving

IMG_0385Of all the cultures I know, gift giving is always present. No pun intended. Generally, people love receiving gifts. It can be a small gesture like receiving a bookmark from the seat at a free seminar or a mask from the strangers at the pavement when there is haze around, or it can be something so generous like a nice bottle of wine from a guest at a dinner party or getting a car from a loved one. But do people generally love giving gifts? Or do they feel a spasm of a headache every time they have to pick out a present from the store? And when do people actually buy gifts?

  1. When there’s a birthday coming…

That has got to be on the top of the list. And there are so many. The more people you know, the more birthday presents you have to prepare. That’s just how it is. And in some cultures, doesn’t matter if you were the one organizing a surprise birthday party, you still need to bring a gift.

  1. When it’s Christmas…

Well, it’s Christmas, it’s all about exchanging gifts. To misquote Jesus on purpose, give unto others what you would want to be given.

  1. When you’re invited to a dinner party…

It’s not encouraged to show up at a dinner party empty handed. Bring something.

  1. When thank you is not enough to help express your gratitude…

This occasion is totally up to you. You can be very flexible with this. Don’t complicate things, it’s actually very easy to show appreciation. Let’s say the person has a car, just offer to refill his tank. Or get nice movie tickets, whether with you or for her boyfriend. Or, better yet, treat the person a sumptuous meal. Who’s to argue with food?

  1. When someone’s engaged…

Something for that someone who is going to bid goodbye to the Single Club, before the I become officially we.

  1. When you’re attending a wedding…

Someone’s getting married, it’s a joyful day, bring something and put it in a nice box that shares the same color as your dress. It’s probably just once in a lifetime for some people, so do bring something to show your blessing.

  1. When someone hosted a themed party…

A themed party, let’s see, how about a themed gift?

  1. When someone hosted an anniversary gathering…

Well, they’ve made it another year, that deserves something.

  1. When there’s simply a party…

If you’re thinking of bringing in an extra dish, make sure to check with the host.

  1. When there’s a newborn child…

This should not be difficult, babies won’t complain that there’re too many toys.

  1. When you’re attending someone’s convocation…

You know, people don’t usually invite people other than close friends and family to attend their convocation so if you’re invited, you must be somebody. You know, they sell bouquets and teddy bears with the graduation hats on. It might be handy for the photo-taking but seriously, who needs those things?

  1. And then there’s Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day…

I love giving Valentine’s Day gifts! It’s all about romance, not about practicality. You don’t have to stop and ponder if the person needs it, if the person would use it. You can just buy and show off your love. Parents, you think this would be easy, think again. Folks I have been living with for 18 years…still got me thinking, what should I buy? I mean I’m so used to them buying things I need for me.

  1. Also, when you see something that suits somebody or something that you know someone always wanted…

I’ll coin this, spontaneous gift. You will hear the giver says something like, I was at the department store the other day and I thought the cap would look great on you. It is something that would blow people’s mind off. Wow, how do you know I always wanted this?! (Hint: you mentioned it to me like for a thousand times?)

 

Gift giving is interesting and also very sensitive. Whatever you give, it tells people something. The gift suddenly represents you. It shows whether you are cheapskate, standoffish, generous, thoughtful, considerate, careless or simply lousy. It also symbolizes the quality of the relationship between you the sender and the other party, the receiver. It tells how well you know the person, what kind of bond you have, do you really wanna have anything to do with the person. So the next time you have to buy a present, think again before you simply grab a mug from the retail shop downtown, blessed is the one who gives.

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