The Gift of Giving (and Receiving)

It’s a Group Post Alert! December is upon us, and we know that there are a lot of different holidays for a lot of different people, but this season is known as the season of giving. What does that mean? It means that children get told they are on lists, asked to make lists, and adults try to instill giving as a virtue, and the needy get a lot of attention (that sadly does not last all year).  While pondering whether the saying ‘it is better to give, than receive’ is actually throwing shade at someone who didn’t get their name drawn by a secret santa or not, we asked ourselves our question of the week:

Q: If you celebrate the season, what was your favorite gift to give and your favorite to receive?



Favorite to Receive: North Face down coat. The year I was moving from Texas to Boston, I received a black North Face puffy down coat. It is a trench coat. Basically, it is a duvet with sleeves and a hood. I was not used to northeastern winters, and this coat has served me well. I’ve had it since 2010 and it has survived Boston, DC, numerous snow storms and a pregnancy. It is a small, so in the month of March before Jay was born, I could not zip it up and I had to do the buttons below and above my belly. Now that I’m a little more used to the cold, it’s my “below 40 degrees” coat. I was just thinking last week that I need a shorter, lighter down coat for the 40-50 degree time…

Favorite to Give: Cookies. Before I had Jay, I loved to make special boxes of assorted cookies and baked treats for my friends. I still have several seasonal boxes in storage that I saved for my next “cookie project.” My favorite to bake were Mexican wedding cookies, which are pecan shortbread cookies rolled in powdered sugar. Each of my friends had their special favorite cookie, so I’d make sure to stuff their box with a few extra of their favorite. Once I get my life back in order (and get my Kitchen Aid stand mixer out of storage), I hope to get back to baking for people I love!




My mom has tried to stop the gift giving tradition for the last 10 plus years, but the best part is she still says:

“We need to go Christmas shopping”

– Sneha’s Mom

OK, the best gift to receive was these amazing sketched martini glasses the year I turned 21. My sister couldn’t afford them, but they meant the world to me. I broke all but one, so now I have it on display and no one is allowed to touch it.

Best gift given was the year I passed the bar and promised my sisters I’d get them whatever they wanted: Sapna asked for the newest iPod gadget that year and Nicki got the ever popular phone that year: the Razr. Sneha was a broke Santa that year.



Best Gift Ever: The Anticipation

When I was younger, Christmas morning itself was my favorite gift.  I hated mornings (still do) but on that day, I rarely slept past 5 am.  It was that nervous excitement where you just can’t contain yourself.  First date, job interview, waiting on a pregnancy test type of excitement: it could go well, could go bad, but the unknown possibility of success or failure is just under that wrapping paper that magically appeared while I slept.I would always sneak out of my room first and take a look at the goods left by Santa.  It was a shameless perusal of the goods. What did I get? What did my sisters get?  It’s all about the loot.  Then I would find a way to ‘accidentally’ wake up my sisters and point out that we were allowed to open the Stockings without Mom and Dad (presents are the best way to avoid angry sisters at dawn!).My parents would eventually wake up and we’d have breakfast.  I think my Mother intentionally made me (us) wait for the rest of the gifts until I couldn’t stand it anymore.  That is the gift I hope to give my kids. It was as still is the thrill, the enthusiasm, the family, the excitement, the wonderment, the joy: the anticipation.



Favorite to receive: My strongest memory of Christmas in Trinidad was the year my father came back from studying in England. My 23 year old mother was left alone with three daughters under the age of six, in a country that was not her own for
the better part of a year. I can remember how excited she was when she whispered a ‘secret’ that my dad was coming home. I can’t remember if he came home the day before Christmas or way before. Eitherway, I do remember waking up and seeing piles and piles and piles of presents under our little fake Christmas Tree (it was quintessentially 80s). They were unwrapped, and all of them were my favorite toys, a tea set, a dump truck, a kitchen sink with water reservoir (the centerpiece of many games of ‘house’ played with my cousins during sleepovers), bags of army men, a Sesame Street train set (I have looked for this on e-Bay off and on for the last 15 years), books, and off-brand Teddy Ruxbin we called “AG Bear,” and a little red car with yellow seats (I still have it). As an adult, I am even more appreciative of these presents because I can only imagine the hassle it must have been for my father to travel across an ocean with a suitcase full of toys for his daughters. And to add another layer of appreciation, shout out to my dad for bringing such a wide spectrum of toys for his daughters to play with! #InanimateObjectsDontHaveGenderIdentity


Favorite to give: Until he was about 12, I used to prank my brother every year by giving him a gag gift. This started because when he was about 6 or 7 he was that precocious kid who would creep around checking out the presents and tried to sneak one open and ruin the surprise. When our baby sister was born, he would rope her into his shenanigans too. One year I gave him this plastic photo cube with pictures of a cartoon character I had printed and cut out, I think once I just filled a shoe box with tissue paper and wrapped that up. Man the look on his face, I think I almost ruined Christmas that year. Ha, the joys of being the eldest.

You all know the drill, share your favorite gifts to receive, give, or just your favorite gift giving traditions (no matter what you celebrate). Don’t be shy

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