Tuesday, 30 December 2014

What I Got For Christmas (and Some Thoughts on Giftgiving)

Being a little nosey, I love seeing posts about what other people have got for birthdays, Christmases and so on. It's probably why I also love haul posts! So if these types of posts are not your thing, just click on the little 'x' on your browser window. If you're like me and enjoy reading these types of posts though, continue!

Do I need to say this is not a bragging post? This is not a bragging post.

So, here's what I got. There are two towels — bath towel and a face/hand towel, both with Little My, my favourite Moomin character (here's what it looks like laid out flat). These, with a movie ticket (which I will use to go and see the new Moomin film), were from my grandma. From my friend, I got a Moomin guide, which is as the title suggests an extensive guide to all the Moomin characters. From my dad, I got an Aalto bowl, which is an iconic design by Finnish designer Alvar Aalto. I'm a little bit of a granny, I admit — towels and dishware make me quite excited. I also got a bar of Fazer Milk Chocolate from him. It's a Finnish staple that I always take back to the UK with me. From my mum, I got some money (via bank transfer), a box of chocolates and more socks than I know what to do with.
I'll be exchanging gifts with my boyfriend and his family in January when he gets back from abroad (military), so I have no idea what I've got from him (I still keep buying him things haha). But I'm glad I have a mini-Christmas to look forward to in January, complete with Christmas dinner. :)

And now to some pondering about traditions... feel free to skip, I just couldn't stop writing!

I spent Christmas last year at my boyfriend's parents in the UK and being back home in Finland for Christmas this year, I've been reminded about how different the two are in their customs. And I'm not talking about Christmas Eve versus Christmas Day. I'm talking about presents!

Now, my only experience of British tradition of gift exchange comes from my boyfriend's family, my friends and the blogs I read. So it may not be entirely accurate. But I feel like there's definitely a lot more gifts exchange going on in the average family in UK than there is in Finland (or maybe my family just does not do gifts). Personally, I got 5 presents this year (not counting my boyfriend and his family). I'm not saying this to complain. I repeat, this is not a complaint. It is just funny to note that I've adopted what I feel is a very British approach to presents. In Finland, we don't do anything like Christmas stockings and I feel that only the minimal amount of gifts are bought (except for children). This year, I kept thinking that my presents were be too small and that I hadn't bought or made presents for enough people (I gave out 11 presents). It has never bothered me before, as I generally only exchange gifts with my parents, my grandma and one of my friends. I do not buy presents for my brothers. Nor do I normally buy Christmas (or birthday) presents for my sisters, because they have been too young to "appreciate" them before this year. Last year however, I got presents from people who I felt really did not need to buy me presents (my boyfriend's aunt and uncle, his best friend...). Seeing how happy they were to receive my gifts for them (little knitted figures I'd thought nothing of), made me feel really good and reconsider the way I view gift giving. Asking yourself 'will they appreciate it' and 'do I need to' when considering Christmas gifts seems quite cold, as if they are a necessary evil!

In all honesty, I prefer what I consider the British way. I don't think it's greedy of me: I just like giving presents and receiving presents. I love seeing someone unwrapping a present from me and being able to tell that they love it. And I love unwrapping a gift that shows someone has really thought of me. It's about sharing, and caring. It's not about the monetary value of the present: it really is the thought that counts. Case in point, the two bags of loom bands and the box of Malteasers which my 9 year-old sister found in her parcel (among other things) were the most popular items of the evening. They cost me £1.50. And the pair of socks I knitted over the summer and did nothing with clearly made my friend very happy indeed.

What are your thoughts on gift giving? Do you go all out or just give gifts to a chosen few? And if you have written a post about what Santa brought you, do share — I fully admit to being nosey!

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