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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Gift Giving Dilemma

For my own records less I forget, here's what I received for Christmas 2004.

For Mr & Mrs MG
- a box of chocolates (bad, we both need to lose weight)
- a chocolate and nut cake (bad, for the same reason above)
- a household ornament (pretty but not sure if its a vase, windchime or candle holder - hmm... maybe can recycle ie give to someone who does not have kids or as a housewarming gift)

For MG
- costume jewellery (good, can wear for Chinese New Year)
- cookbooks (can admire and drool over the pictured illustrations but no time to cook)

For Baby
- Barney, Bj & Baby Bob softoys to hang on baby's gym (courtesy of Mr MG)
- a board book (toddler has claimed it as her own)
- a ceramic cup (ceramic?! will have to sit in my cabinets till baby is older)

For Toddler
- Barney cup with straw (dunno how to describe but its got Barney popping out from a jungle at the top of the cup! courtesy of Mr MG)
- a handheld colourful windmill (not sure if thats what its called but who cares, she loves it)
- a storybook (with stupid stories, to me at least but again who cares, she likes to read them especially if mummy is reading them to her.)
- a plastic Disney princess cup (again, toddler likes it but then she likes any cup provided they serve up her current favourite drinks ie Veebena (Ribena) and Orange Jooose (Juice))

Hmm... it would seem as if toddler enjoys her gifts the most. Every year we face a gift giving dilemma. PapiMami blogged about this before Christmas and it brings to mind my own yearly dilemma.

- to give or not to give?
- who to give? (ie. to give everyone, just the children or one for each household?)
- what to give? (depends on the above)
- maybe i should add "why" are we giving?

Oh I do love shopping for gifts, browsing around slowly, thinking about the person who will be getting the gift and whether he or she will be delighted by it, carefully choosing a well worded card to go with it and trying out my artistic skills to wrap it up beautifully BUT I do not enjoy gift giving when it is commercialised, rushed, pressured and not our own tradition to do so. (Giving out angpows during Chinese New Year is our tradition and err..... much simpler too.)

No, I do not enjoy gift giving for the sake of giving and so I don't. But only if you are as thick skinned as MG will you turn up at a gathering empty handed and leave the way Santa Clause would have arrived. Some of the gifts I received still had price tags on them indicating the gift giver's rush in getting them and looking at the amount of gifts being passed around that evening, I think the retailers are laughing all the way to the bank selling things they would not normally have been able to sell.

Since its not our tradition to exchange gifts on Christmas (but rather something that has somehow creeped into our family over the years) I also face the dilemma and confusion of whether to buy anything for my own kids. On toddler's first Christmas, we got her a singing Santa just for the fun of it, second year nothing. Now its baby's first Christmas, so we're back to buying something for them otherwise it would be unfair on poor baby. Ah.... this confusion. Its our own doing!

Am I being cheapskate, a scrooge, a spoilsport, too practical? I don't think so. I just don't believe in it. It does seem to be such a terrible thing though ... not to get gifts for people who have given gifts to your kids. Still, I won't succumb to giving something useless or thoughtless (because I have no time) just for the sake of giving something in return. But maybe I'll do it next year.... for the kids. (Thats what I say every year.... but perhaps when my kids are older, I can involve them in the gift selection and wrapping process as an opportunity to teach them about the joy of giving, but not right now. Rushing around with other shoppers, standing up in long queues with a baby on a sling and a toddler hanging on to my shirtails is too much for me to handle.)

We should all just save up and give for a good cause instead. For more details on how to donate to victims of the tsunami in Malaysia, hop over to Mack's blog.



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