Changing art of gifting

The gift you may have given to someone may come back to you after some recycling!

When I was young, the thought of receiving gifts on special occasions gave me a thrill – esp-ecially as my father was particular about accepting anything without giving something in return. We never had birthday parties nor do I recollect having attended any festivities in any friend’s place.

Yes, we were present at the weddings of close relatives. But not all of us went as we siblings were so many in number – imagine five girls and one boy – and the youngest amongst us only had hand-me downs. We didn’t get jazzy new clothes on any occasion except once a year during Deepavali, or a one-time “pattu pavadai” (Kanjeevaram silk skirt) with a blouse and a half saree to match it, when a girl came of age.

Nowadays, families are small with two or three children, and they shop throughout the year, especially when there are sales like “Aadi Kazhivu” in Chennai and many others throughout the year everywhere. Only the other day, my grand-daughter asked me if I needed something which could be ordered on-line from an ongoing sale.

The first birthday gift I received from a school friend was a little purse, shaped like a doggie with a button to close it and ribbons to serve as handles. I treasured this for years (in spite of not having a penny to put into it) because my friend Barbara had handcrafted it for me. Then, when Shankar’s Weekly paid me  for a humorous article I wrote when I was a little older, I was delighted to be able to put the five-rupee note into the purse and store it away carefully.

When my children were born, the pra-ctice of gifting cash was in vogue. I recor-ded their one or two rupee gifts, so when my turn to give came, I gave no less as was the done thing. But, recently at a birthday party, I saw a mother giving a crisp Rs 500 note, in a beautiful envelope meant for it, to her daughter for gifting.

I found that in the US, you can go to the same shop where a gift was bought, and exchange it if you don’t think it will be useful to you. While there is no such system in India, there are coupons for the amount to be gifted and the receiver can choose the gift in exchange of it.

My daughter and her friends are popularising the system where whatever you wish to cash-gift can be made out  in the form of a cheque to a charity organisation of your choice and put in a box to be transferred to them. This, we should copy if we don’t want to clutter the house with unusable gifts and mementos that have little or no place and to spare ourselves the burden of down-sizing.

However, what scares me above all is that today a lot of recycling is occurring – and the gift you may have given to so-meone may come back to you after three or four rounds of recycling. Beware!
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