Every year at a time like this, we in the office have the tradition where we will have that exchange of gifts session. Everyone would be asked to pick a name from pieces of papers that will be passed around with names written on it and whoever you picked will be your 'advent child' and you have to buy him or her gift. Last year the minimum price for a gift was fixed at RM15.00. This year however, due to the recession blah...blah, it has been fixed to a minimum of RM10.00. However, one may be allowed to go as high as possible depending on the individual’s generosity. You are not supposed to reveal to anyone who your advent child is, so it is safe for you to buy your gift and not be embarrassed when your gift is not liked!
The nicely wrapped gift will be put under the Christmas tree with the recipient’s name. The ladies especially, will take every opportunity to check whether there are any gift under the tree and any addition will be welcomed with 'ohhhs' and 'aahhhs' while trying to guess the giver and also what’s inside, studying the handwriting and all. It is not so much what the gift is, rather it is the suspense of trying to guess what is inside and who their respective ‘Santa’ is. A week or two before Christmas, the distribution of the gifts followed by a simple lunch will normally be held in the office conference room. Gifts distributed will then be opened. Some would shriek with excitement, some overly excited trying to hide their disappointment with the gifts, while at the same time thanking the mystery ‘Santa’ profusely. Some are quite innovative with their gifts which would please the 'advent child' very much.
I feel that gift chosen should be done with sincerity even though one may not like the recipient but the message in gifts exchanged is also a sort of making amends for whatever wrongs or to show love for one another. Of course, the meaning of giving may differ but ultimately, the message is the same i.e. sharing.
Choices of gifts can tell us many things about the person but at the same time can be misinterpreted too. It is also considered bad manners to give used stuff, free gifts or gifts that may cause discomfort to the recipient. Some will prefer to give or to receive a practical gift, but at time like now when money is tight, some I think will prefer not to go overboard. Whatever it is, I think it is important to communicate our thoughts about gifts. So before purchasing the gift, it is worth considering thinking twice about the message you want to send to that person, because at the end of the day, as the saying goes, it is the thought that counts. As for me, the real joy I derive from giving is choosing and shopping for that gift for the person which equals the joy of receiving.
Have a Happy Gift Shopping Day!