For most as I've observed, it is more convenient to just give monetary gifts and here in the Philippines it has become quite a tradition, where kids line-up to receive their aguinaldo and depending on whether you're a close relative or an inaanak (godchild), you may even receive more than the others.
|Lining up for their aguinaldo|
I didn't grow up with this tradition. When I was younger growing up in Canberra, our extended family were my mom's co-workers in the embassy and their children. I remember receiving a gift from each of those families, around 10 or more. We, in turn, would also give gifts to each Tito/Tita and each of their children. It was always exciting to open up the gifts and I admit I had taken a peek with a small, concealed rip to see what was inside the Christmas wrappers even before Boxing Day came (Christmas 26, for those who are not aware of this special occasion that the Aussies inherited from the British).
Now that I'm the Mommy and have the "privilege" of buying gifts, I have kept the tradition of my childhood and much prefer giving wrapped gifts rather than the ones found in the envelopes. Sure it takes much more effort especially on our precious time, but this choice was reaffirmed just this last Christmas. Most of the time we give the gifts before Christmas itself and the gifts aren't opened 'til Christmas day, so we never get to see the reaction of the recipient. But on my husband's side of the family, we have our annual reunion on New Year's eve and day and that is when we get to give them their gifts.
|Here are my kids back in Christmas 2011 when they started opening their gifts under the tree. |
They wonder why now they don't get many gifts anymore and I try to explain that the red envelopes are the gifts.
I got to witness the reaction of the younger kids when they opened their gifts. Even if the gifts were simple and may not be that expensive, these younger kids' eyes just opened wide and the little boy smiled and started playing with his new toy motorcycle and the little girl exclaimed "wow" at her new pajamas. So, don't get me wrong, those red envelopes with the ampao are very much appreciated and are sometimes more practical, but I really love seeing the expressions on the kids' faces when they open up those gifts. It is a gift not only for the receiver, but definitely, for the giver. This tradition will definitely be one that I will not do away with, even at times especially when trying to think up of gifts for teenagers, that it really becomes quite a chore. It is the thought and effort that counts anyway.