Monday, December 18, 2006


Birthday parties, making cards, opening presents are some of my 4 year old's latest craze. With every nook and corner in this country decked and decorated for Christmas now, wherever there are boxes gift wrapped, she wants to open them!! Anyway, my first Christmas outside of India, I went all emotional about the giving season! Somehow I didn't think gifts were associated with our festivals. Even the bakshish/betta was associated with irritation and not joy of giving. It even made me think we were too self-centric. But the returning /exchange of gifts done on the day after Christmas came as quite a shock! Returning gifts??? It seemed like the most outrageous thing to do. To me, it was an insult to the gift giver who spent time and energy to get it. Ofcourse, as always I have a few flashback incidents which is why I think too much into this gifting thing.

A friend of mine was getting married. I asked her what she wanted as a wedding gift and she said she wanted a handbag. The day of the wedding, I was at a store, overwhelmed by the different colours, varieties of handbags that hung all around. Ultimately I got one, presented it to her, chatted with friends, enjoyed the grand meal and forgot about it. A few weeks later I went to see her at her(mother's) house when she had come to visit. Her mother asked me to wait saying that she would be back soon from handbag shopping with her husband! I was totally shocked and hurt, excused myself and spent a few weeks brooding about it!

Another time, there was this neighbour whose sister was getting married and she only invited a select few from the neighbourhood. My grandfather who was this proud அந்தகாலத்து person took offense to his omission. Since I was the only one with a vehicle(bicycle, hee.. hee..) at that time, the lady needed my help to move some things for the function. In the process, she kept saying things like how costly weddings are, how she hates to burden people with gift buying by inviting them etc.

Now if you think cash is the best gift, how much is not too much(or too little)! Years back, I attended a birthday party of one of my (phoren!) cousin. After candle blowing, cake cutting/eating, games etc., they announced the 'gift opening ceremony'. All of us had 'what?' look on our faces as gift opening was never done public! Like in movies, she ripped open the lovely gift wraps(what a waste!), opening the gifts one by one and announcing who got her what! Among the gifts was an envelope with a 10 rupee note inside. Even though this was probably more useful than the umpteen gifts she got and even adequate for a girl her age, the display of his humble 10 Re. note made the giver's face go pale!

Gift giving and receiving are joy only among close friends/relatives. I cannot seem to agree with the honour tag associated with invitation/மொய் etc. Even though I want to and try to be a selfless giver, when things go wrong in a relationship, I cannot but help thinking about all that I'd done for them! But I'm slowly trying to accept the idea that once you gift someone, the item belongs to them. Whether they use it, return it, exchange it or give it away to someone is their choice!


Jinguchakka said...

Gift cards or vouchers make sense in this context.
Also you can get a gift receipt when you buy a gift so that the "giftee" can exchange with something he/she likes.
In Seinfeld, there is an episode about "Regifting" One has to be careful when regifting as not to gift to the person who gave that in the first place!!

Syam said...

indha gifting periya thollai...during our college days if we go to any of our friend's bro/sis wedding...apdiye anga yaaraavathu kudutha gift ah naanga marubadiyum eduthu kuduthu poto ku pose kuduthitu vandhuduvom :-)

தி. ரா. ச.(T.R.C.) said...

each and every thing cannot me converted into Rs. and paise or for that matter US$ and cents. Love and affection is one such thing. you nicely brought out that.Good.

Anonymous said...

Diwali time-la seekiram baksheesh kudutha thaan cards nerathukku vandhu serum :(
As my friend used to say, "Current kambam yerra-naaiyellaam edhukku inaam kekudhu?!?"
I think baksheesh lower limit has gone up these days, must be atleast Rs.50?

I said...

law of gifts: it should not be useful.

Me said...

I went all emotional about the giving season! Somehow I didn't think gifts were associated with our festivals.

...ada enna me2 s.arcot parambariyatha ippadi kavuthuteengalay ....all festivalsku thatha-paati veetuku going...all periyava kaal la vizhundhings...kai nariyo kaas making...

...adhula most difficult part will be if they give salavai nottu...;)

EarthlyTraveler said...

I don't say it is bad or good.IT DEPENDS.As "ME"says When we were little we used to enjoy going around for that.But when we came across elders who said mean things when you do namaskaram and give us dakshanai,we started refusing it.
As TRC sir said the love and affection behind that is the most valued one,not the gift.
now,when the tables turned to us,
I never give useless goodybags for birthdays,Instead all these years I have given books as a gift or return gift or borders gift cards.
We need to teach kids that the gift value is not impotant,but the blessings,love comes with that is valuable.
In USA,as"i" said they normally give useless gifts.
If you have Middle/High school kids,then you will end up buying gifts almost for the half of the school friends and teachers.For me,Thats stress.oops,gone a bit too long.--SKM

Me too said...

jc, I got to watch a clip of Seinfeld's regifting episode in 20/20 recently. The most regifted item that I know of is blouse piece!!

syam, ada, super idea!

trc, welcome and thanks for your comments.

ttm, when the 'goorkakaran' comes to get his Deepavali inaam, my thatha would say, 'deevilikki deevili thaan ivana paarka mudiyum'!!

i, I'll try to remember that!

me, I can even see you(in my manakann!)how you say 'idhellaam edhukku thatha/paatti' and then turn around and ask your siblings/cousins, 'onakku evalavu da/di'!! ;)

skm, whoever came up with this goody bag thingy!! It's just a year since we moved(and started on a clean slate(or closet!)) and already there are these goody bag craps piling around drowning me!
Me too(!) have always packed goody bags with books(with a slight fear of getting labelled the uncool mom)!

EarthlyTraveler said...

//Me too(!) have always packed goody bags with books(with a slight fear of getting labelled the uncool mom)!//
don't worry about getting "uncool" mom name.Infact I succeeded in convincing all my friends to stop those "goodybag"culture.You can do that.Instead when it is time to go home we give them kumkum and a fruit to them.Actually kids are also have started liking that.Take the first step towards change.:D

Anonymous said...

ah gukhakaaran...only guy for whom I willingly disbursed the inaams - used to salaam me at 3AM when I was doing the dreadful nightouts in the portico during Apr/Oct sems :)

D LordLabak said...

Good! you seem to have become a wise soul now. Now happily write posts on how you received some bad gifts.;-)

Me too said...

skm, thanks for the encouragement! How I wish you lived in my neighbourhood!

ttm, 'gorkha' always remind me of his shrill (blowing of) whistle at the wee hours that used to (unnecessarily) scare me!

deepa, first let me bloghop & check how many have written about my bad gifts to them!! :(

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