To Gift or Not to Gift

To Gift or Not to Gift

(On the True Meaning of Gift-Giving)

Mahilig ka bang magbigay ng regalo sa iyong mga kamag-anak o kaibigan? Okey lang ’yan—basta ba bukál sa iyong kalooban at meron ka naman talagang sobrang pera na pambili ng mga regalong iyan at, higit sa lahat, hindi mo ito isinusumbat sakaling wala kang natanggap na kapalit mula sa mga taong iyong niregaluhan.

I am not a Santa Claus—someone who tends to bring gifts to everyone every time there is an occasion or a get-together. I always believe that if the invitation has been really extended with good intentions, then my presence should be enough. And I am not a “gift spectre” either [a wordplay on “gift expecter”)—someone who expects gifts during every possible occasion.

Whenever we get invited to parties or get-togethers, I am not compelled to bring food or gifts. I will bring something only if I like to, if I’m in the mood, or if I happen to have extra money around the time of the occasion. I don’t condone or encourage people who host parties to expect presents from their invitees aside from their presence. In the same manner that I don’t encourage people to feel compelled to bring something every time I invite them to a party I’m hosting or they get to be invited by friends or acquaintances to parties.

Their presence—not their presents—should be enough. In fact, if they could not attend for whatever reason, they should not feel guilty about it—and the host should not take it against those who failed to attend. Just give the host a heads-up that you couldn’t attend the party.

If I want something for myself or my family, I buy it with my own money and hard work; I don’t expect to receive these as gifts.

People should not expect too much gifts from others. They should buy themselves their needs or whatever they like. That’s the reason we should be working—to be able to provide for ourselves and our own families.

I don’t mean to be grumpy or greedy; I’m not even promoting greediness; I’m just trying to put the concept of gift-giving in the correct perspective, because I abhor the way gift-giving has become a sort of a moral obligation in many societies. To me, giving will always remain a choice—a prerogative. On the other hand, I am not belittling generosity—if someone loves giving gifts, then it’s her choice; but the hypocrisy begins the moment she expects something in return and when the recipients feel obligated to give something in return.

Sa Madaling Salita
Ang pagbibigay ay dapat bukál sa kalooban at hindi naghihintay ng kapalit. Kapag nakatanggap ka naman ng regalo o bigay, hindi ka dapat napipilitang magbigay ng kapalit—dapat ay bukál din sa iyong kalooban.

Or, in Simple Words
Giving is a choice, so is giving back. Either is not a moral obligation. The real concept of giving is the transfer of something without an expectation of reciprocity—and receiving the gift without feeling obligated to give something in return. Both should be rendered without any feeling of guilt, coercion, or gain.