The 10 Commandments on Christmas gift-giving

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B Jimenez (The Freeman) - December 9, 2019 - 12:00am

The original meaning of gift-giving shown by the three kings is lost. These highly-commercialized and secular times have bastardized the gentle and beautiful art of giving and receiving Christmas gifts into a contest of showing off, of competing and upstaging one another and of measuring friendships and affections based on prices of material presents. Christmas gift-giving has even deteriorated into a level of bribery and corruption. Let me then offer some suggestions to temper human excesses and aberrations.

First, the philosophy, think of the reason why you are giving gifts to some people. Are these obligatory or traditional rituals in the family or in the club or association? Do you give because you have to or you want to? Is this to reciprocate to one who gave to you first? Just think why you are including these persons in your gift list. Second, think of individual receivers. Do not give uniform gifts for all in the same group. Spend time to suit the kind of gift to the nature of the person. Do not give pork to a Muslim or cow meat to a Hindu. Third, be mindful of your budget. Do not overspend in December and declare bankruptcy come January. There are many gifts that have meanings but are not expensive. Do not show off more than what you can afford.

Fourth, on meanings, insert inside the package a beautiful and unique card with profound words that are really touching. Address your message to the heart of the receiver. Convey to the recipient a very special message. Fifth, never give food items with near expiry dates, or wines and substances that are known to cause health problems. Be mindful of the health consequences of your gifts. Sixth, never ever recycle gifts. This is the worst form of bad manners. The gift that you recycle may end up with you. Seventh, please make sure that the price tags are removed. For the presence of price tags is the worst indication of lack of decency and propriety. It destroys the giver more than the receiver.

Eighth, avoid giving gifts that violate the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Do not give gifts to the BIR examiner if you have a pending tax case. Do not give gifts to the DOLE and NLRC officials if you have pending labor cases. Do not give gifts to judges and prosecutors if you have pending criminal and civil cases. Do not give gifts to your teachers when you are still expecting your grades to be released. Your motives should be beyond reproach.

Ninth, do not give gifts to government officials at all. After all, you do not love them. You abhor many of them for corruption or ineptitude. Do not give gifts to the mayor or the governor if your permits or licenses are pending with their offices. Why give them gifts at all?

Tenth, do not give gifts because you are expecting a bigger or more expensive gift from the recipients. Give because it is the spirit of the season. Give because you want the receiver to be happy not to be pressured to reciprocate. Gift-giving is a gracious and gratifying experience. It is one of the best experiences in Christmas. Do not spoil the spirit by the greed, schemes, and bad faith that may visit your heart.


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