Exchange Gifts

I was raised a Christian but we never celebrated Christmas. For us, December 25 is just another ordinary day. Its not like we don’t celebrate the day that Christ was born. We just believe that it should be celebrated everyday rather than on a date that isn’t stated in the bible.

So I grew up not participating in Christmas parties, not buying gifts, nor exchanging them.

However, over the last few years I started attending Christmas parties not because its Christmas but because that’s the time when  friends gather and have fun. As an expat in Dubai where you have very few relatives and your friends become your family, attending parties like this feels like family gatherings more than anything else.

We were (me and my husband)  invited into two gatherings on the 24th. One is  engrande, and the other is a  much intimate one.

The first party we were invited to was organized by a family, friends of my husband. It was a gathering for 25 people with complete programe, games, singing and dancing and exchanging gifts. We decided to attend this party first since it was supposed to start at 7:30pm. But until we left at 9:30pm, there’s just 5 of us in the venue. We left as we had to attend another one and since there was an exchange gift, we just left the gifts and asked my husband’s friend to just bring along what’s for us.

Later on, I received a gift from someone named Jessica. Someone I have not even met.

A Victoria’s secret gift set.

Victoria's Secret

I did not understand the whole concept of inviting 25 people who don’t even know each other to attend the same party, let alone ask them to exchange gifts with one another. Maybe this is their form of socializing, meeting new people and making new friends and I was just too anti-social (like everyone says so) or maybe because I am not used to attending parties so I felt strange.

I’ve heard that the hosts invited several non-Filipinos to the party. One, who is of a totally different culture who never have heard about Christmas in his entire life, bought a candle for a gift worth 3 Dirhams when the exchange gift was for anything worth at least 50 Dirhams. The person who received the candle commented “anu ba yan, di pa nga ako patay binibigyan na ako ng kandila” (what is this, I am not dead yet but they are already giving me candles). We should really have written down our wish list, at least then we’ll know what to receive.

The exchange gift didn’t really make sense to me.

Exchange gift is accepting and thanking for what you have received, not demanding for what you want. It’s not about compensating the amount you spend for giving something, but for making the person feel glad. – from Anne’s recent post on Exchange Gifts

We headed to the 2nd gathering held at our friend’s house. There was just 7 of us. After having a light dinner, we played Uno,  played the guitar, sang 90s OPM songs and had few beers and kapeng barako afterwards (what a combination ha ha). We did exchange some gifts and it was fun.

They gave me plain white mugs because they know I’ll draw on them. Someone received a coffee tray because her hands always trembled while bringing cups from the kitchen. Someone received table mats that suits her wooden table.

These are simple things, not even expensive ones, but makes you feel that you are really remembered.

On the 25th, I received another gift from a friend. A pillow case set. When I thanked her she said “pasensya na, yan lang ang nakayanan” (sorry, that’s all I can afford).

Really, why say sorry for giving  a pillow case set?

Sometimes it is difficult to choose and buy a gift to a person who (you feel) has everything already. Or who can buy whatever she/he needs. Or who only buys expensive things. And yes sometimes you’ll think that they might just throw your gift as they can buy better ones anyway.

Yes, its true that they might just set your gift aside as they may not like it  but the fact that you made an effort and you’ve let them know that they were remembered is what they’ll appreciate.

Christmas is the season of giving but let us not forget that we can always give a gift to anyone at any given time. It does not have to be on Christmas.  The least the person expects a gift, the more he/she gets surprised. The more the effort is appreciated.

Let us also remember that our main reason for giving a gift shouldn’t be because we need to but because we want to.


20 responses to “Exchange Gifts”

  1. Too funny “anu ba yan, di pa nga ako patay binibigyan na ako ng kandila” hahaha. I like the second gathering, its feels home. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He he he…d na sana ako magpopost tungkol dyan kaso nakita ko post mo eh hehe

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Matagal akong naka get over sa kandila haha.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ha ha ha…sa day to day lang binili yung kandila kaya nagalit ung nakatanggap hahaha


  2. I didn’t know you’re married! Hehe. Anyways, yeah, exchange gifts are fun but we have to remember that when we say “gifts”, we shouldn’t except anything in return.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ha ha ha….I never announced 😛
      yeah, the true spirit of gift giving is often forgotten….


  3. Natawa rin ako sa kandila at sa comment about it. LOL 🙂 Merry Christmas Aysa! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha….happy new year Jai…


      1. Happy New Year din! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I totally agree with your mentioned essence of true gift giving (regardless of occasion). It was my birthday once and a colleague gave me a gift, which I was grateful naman. Pero when it was her turn to celebrate her birthday and I wasn’t able to give her any (tight budget kase me during that month), however I’ve compensated naman in form of gesture, she wasn’t happy about it and commented that, ‘friends should gift each other during special occasions’.. Ok, lesson learned 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha…since when naging requirement ang pagbibigay ng regalo? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Noong una kong pagkabasa, Exchange GF! Haha! Napabasa tuloy ako. LOL! #AntokNa Cool yung 25 people na iinvite! I’ll try that next time 🙂 So anong Christian denomination kayo? (If I may ask.) 🙂


    1. ikaw eh, puro GF naiisip mo dyan LOL…

      ayoko sabihin dito dahil tiniwalag na yata ako eh LOL

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha! Ok no prob. 🙂 Anyway, goodnight na muna! Haha!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Funny. You touch on the very essence of gift giving. Giving is the reason for these exchanges. Whe you look at it from that angle it is sweet. Enjoyed readin your post and thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehehe…thanks for the nice words

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Got intrigued by your backstory…I will remember what you said about giving a gift!

    Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey thanks for reading! Happy New Year too 🙂


      1. Thank you too! It always feels comforting to connect with fellow Filipino bloggers.

        Liked by 1 person

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