Giving gifts on Christmas is a family tradition that was started by my dear Auntie Mameng back when we were still living under one roof. Auntie Mameng is my father’s older sister. There were 20 or more of us in my grandmother’s house back then, my father’s siblings with their own families. Each family had its own respective place in that house.
A week or two before Christmas, Auntie Mameng, with the help of whoever came in handy, would be wrapping Christmas gifts to be placed under the Christmas tree in the main house. The older children, that would be me and my siblings, would often sneak to the main house to try to take a glimpse of what we’d be receiving come Christmas time.
We would carefully open our gifts and peep inside and return the wrappers just as neatly as they had been before we touched them. That actually spoiled the surprise that awaited us on Christmas day. But giddy kids that we were, we couldn’t really wait ‘til Christmas.
I remember those times with fondness. The idea of receiving gifts actually added meaning to our Christmases. I have associated Christmas with gifts since then. For me, Christmas isn’t complete without presents. That is why I kept the tradition of giving gifts on Christmas alive.
When I already had a job and started earning my own money, I made it a point to buy gifts for my entire family and for the smaller children (my cousins) living with us at my grandmother’s house at that time, that is, until we all went our separate ways in 1996, the year when the house was finally sold.
Now that I’m earning a little more than I used to, I also increased the number of people I give Christmas gifts to. I don’t only give gifts to my family, but to Auntie Mameng’s family as well. I even give to our company’s security guards and janitors if my budget permits.
I just love giving gifts. I don’t buy expensive ones. I go for the practical gifts instead, ones that the recipients can use or have a present need for. Shirts and cologne top my list. I give accessories to my kikay relatives, and it’s either clothes or toys for the kids.
I usually end up not buying anything for myself. But I can’t complain. I’m happy just seeing the smiles on the faces of people I give gifts to. Their happy faces tell me they appreciate that I thought about them on this special day.