The Art of Giving & Receiving

You know how it is when you go through lengths of finding the perfect present for a friend, and after wrestling with your wallet, you buy it anyway because it’s just so her? Or for the crafty ones, you summon up all your creative juices and make a one-of-a-kind piece with her favorite color? Or for the keepers among us (that’s me), you struggle with that cherished old treasure you know your friend will love? Then you wrap it in pretty paper with matching ribbon, write a sweet and thoughtful note on the card, and then you can’t wait to give it because you know it’s just so perfect! Then you’re so excited to give it, and when you finally do, the recipient simply acknowledges with a quick “thank you” and a hug, and puts it away so she can open it later at home. That kills me. Worse, you never hear about it after. Oh, my bleeding heart…

I don’t know if it’s just us Filipinos, but I found that it doesn’t seem normal for people around here to open a present in front of the giver. Christmas gifts are an exception, of course, or if you are in a sticky situation (I can’t think of any now… maybe while you’re walking in the streets of Divisoria?). I don’t understand it. I grew up thinking gifts are supposed to be opened in private when no one is looking so that the giver won’t be put on the spot. And just in case the gift is not so perfect, at least you save each other from an awkward moment. I used to believe “It’s the thought that counts”, so who cares if the gift was received or opened, right? The fact that you gave it is good enough. Is it really? Come on, admit it. You ALWAYS wonder to yourself if she liked it, right?

Now that I’m older and have grown to love and enjoy giving gifts, I realize this practice is such a shame. Many people don’t realize they do this, and I’m sure they mean well, but it’s quite sad. Giving is never complete when there is no receiving. I wonder if that’s the reason why so many people have a hard time receiving the free gift of eternal life that God offers. Better to tuck it away for now and open it later… perhaps when no one is looking?

Giving presents feeds the

To me, giving gifts is a personal thing, like giving a part of myself. It’s never about how much you spent for it. It’s about how much you put in it: your time, your resources, your energy, your thoughts. And it’s supposed to go with a lot of love wrapped in it, even if it’s just a bit of cash in an envelope. Giving presents feeds my soul.

Many of my family and friends celebrate special occasions in the vicinity of the “Ber” months (as I do) so, just for today, I wrapped 5 presents that I put together over the weekend for some special people in my life. Now when I give a gift, I insist on a payback by prodding them to open it right there. Oh the joy that I feel when I see their eyes light up, that silent shriek of glee from a shy little girl, that hug of thanks, that “I loooove it!” (sincere or half meant)… I just NEED to see it (so needy, I know…haha!). It makes me feel like I was the one who received the gift! Happiness…

So the next time you receive a present, think about how you might feel if you were the giver. There is no better way to express your thanks than to OPEN IT NOW!

Then enjoy it!



2 thoughts on “The Art of Giving & Receiving

  1. Growing up I used to hear “It’s better to give than to receive”. I didn’t get it then because I LOVED getting gifts, but I soooo get it now. I think I get more excited than the recipient (smile). It feels really good to know that you’ve made someone’s day a little brighter.

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