Monday, December 28, 2015

How about a 3€ angpow (red envelope)?

I used to loathe about Christmas preparations. What do we offer to the family members? What do they like? What do they want? And I got to ask the same questions from people who want to offer me gifts. Kids are easy, I bought the gifts in November. But how about the adults? I always thought that the Chinese tradition of offering angpow (red envelope with money stuffed inside) is a much easier and practical way. People just go buy whatever they like, or save it.

But, over the years, I start to understand the meaning behind it. Surely, it is a huge commercial campaign, sometimes you just buy because you have to, not because that person really needs it. However, it could also be a time you share somethings you like with a person (like a book, a CD...), or offering a trip to a place you have been to. Plus, a coworker told me a fact that was so true : you could offer a 3€ book as gift, but if you put 3€ cash or a cheque in an envelope, it would seem so...worthless. Giving out money represents overall a bigger budget than giving out in gifts.

Anyway, I still loathe about Christmas and all the works associated with, but this year, I couldn't help but eagerly waiting for it to arrive. I love the scene where family gathers around the warm fireplace, drinking champagne, openning gifts, nibbing on food... and working on photobooks and calendars till wee hours so that it could be delivered before Christmas, is part of my Christmas tradition now. I love to see people flipping through pages of photos I chose, remembering what we have done over the years, and it is work I put in that couldn't be valued by money.

Still, I feel that my girls were overflooded with gifts, see how much presents Santa brought us this year! We just kept opening from one gift to another that we didn't have time to appreciate, or even take note of who's who bought / prepared them for us (Santa got all the credits anyway).

I think we should probably limit to one gift / person, the kids are happy to be involved in other stuffs, like decorating the table.

 Or covering the cake with Christmas theme decor.

A 3€ book could please her for a while, she would be puzzled if she got 3€ in coins.


  1. Belated Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you and your family. Your girls are so lucky to have so many presents from 'Santa'!! For us here in the family, we will write our wish list to MIL and she will choose what she wants to buy for us.

  2. Anonymous3:44 AM

    Belated happy holidays!

    We joked about it with Feng before Christmas, whishing we could just give "hongbao" instead of gifts, at least to adults. But then the amount would be tricky... I do believe that it's better to get nothing (or get something a little bit after Christmas) than receiving a useless or meaningless gift. I don't like giving a present just for the sake of it. We all have too much already....