Gifts. Presents.and Everything Nice

When I was a child, I never got to experience celebrating my birthday in a grand way. My parents would just bring me and my sibling to a mall nearby and would buy me a present or my mum will cook spaghetti for us. I never had any birthday cakes, candles to blow or numbers of presents to open. There was a time that I even asked why I don’t get to celebrate birthdays like other children.

It became a routine until I reached college, my friends bought cake on my birthday and I received little presents. I was even given a surprise birthday party where my group of friends gathered in one of my friends’ house and cooked finger foods. I was not used to these things, but I was grateful, I didn’t know how to react when people give me something. I feel like, now that they did these for me, I must do it to them as well.

My gratefulness towards their deeds won over the discomfort of being obligated. So, I told myself that when someone close to my heart, I must do something or I must give them something. Since I was the class president of our section, I have thought of an idea where all of us give a certain amount of money so when one of our classmates will celebrate their birthdays, she will receive something from us. I also held birthday surprises for my best friends and siblings, aside from that I will get something for them. For my family and best friends, I never missed any occasion, whether its birthday, Valentines, Christmas, promotion from work, doing great in school, I will always buy presents for them or do something special for them. I never had any of these during my childhood so I want them to experience receiving gifts, candle blowing, cake cutting and gatherings. Also, I like it better when I’m the one who’s throwing a party or giving someone something instead of the other way so I won’t feel obligated.

Since I was only a student before I only buy items that was within my budget and I depended on the idea that what was important was I knew about their birthday and giving the something was enough, but now that I am working, I allot budget for it, my criteria in buying gifts depend on what my receiver wants, whether it’s cheap or expensive. Of course, I will always buy the expensive ones because I don’t want to disappoint them; I just want them to be happy.

That’s the thing, I kept on thinking about how to make them happy however I always ended disappointing them. How? I will hear complaints why I bought something expensive, something I want and not what they want, why I bought this one instead of the other one, why I bought a present that I should just give money, and why I only buy one. These comments were not given behind me but in front of me, right after they opened or received the gift. Then again, they will express their gratefulness afterwards so they thought that it was okay with me to hear their rants. Or when I didn’t prepare anything (because I got tired of their complaints that I decided not to give them anything) they will question why I never bothered getting them something and will feel sad about it which makes me guilty.I don’t understand if they expect too much from me or I don’t really meet their standards when it comes to gift giving or maybe both. Whatever it is, I don’t find myself THAT happy when I give someone a present, may it cost less or a lot. I know it is not my problem anymore if the receiver don’t appreciate what I give, it’s just that I do not want to give myself or any other people an avenue where I will feel bad because I didn’t meet their expectations.

Maybe, this time, I will change how I celebrate other’s birthday, instead of giving gifts. It’s not the only way to make them happy right? Maybe spending time with them or treating them with a meal will do. In this way, I can spend time with them and buy a meal for them. I think it’s a win-win situation because both parties will be happy and I won’t spend so much money for presents.

I am thankful for my childhood experiences of celebrating birthdays, it is now clear to me why I never had any birthdays like other kids had, it’s because now that I am an adult, I don’t expect people to surprise me, to cook for me, or to buy me presents. I always think that I don’t really need people to do these things for me, yes it adds spice to the celebration, but I can live without them and I can celebrate without these.


I am glad that I am used to having simple things in life and not asking people to provide for me.

I am fortunate enough to have celebrated my birthdays that way because there are children that just let their birthdays pass because of their status in life. They don’t put much effort time for it or worse they don’t even know when their birthday is. What I had back then was so much in these children’s eyes that’s why I am so thankful for having this life.

I am fine that we only went to malls to buy presents, didn’t have birthday cakes and number of presents to open


because I get to appreciate little things and get inspired to do something for someone else.

I have learned that celebrating someone’s life doesn’t have to be always grand, a surprise or buying presents for them. I realized that tangible objects can get old and can be forgotten ,but moments spent with them will always be treasured. It may sound cliché but it’s true.

Happy Birthday.

Be happy wherever you are.


hp101191 | 16:38 | 10.06.2017 | Sembs,SG



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