When I was much younger, pre-teenage age, we kids all looked forward to Christmas day – we all knew its symbolism and all enjoyed the merriment. Then there was this other day after Christmas they called Boxing day. I remember thinking then as a kid “What in God’s name is this day all about! Are we meant to throw punches at each other? I thought these adults teach us in Church that fighting is wrong? Well, what is my own! Let me just enjoy the festivity. . .” In my house then, Boxing day was just an extension of the Christmas merriment. We visited more people, went to the amusement park and ate more delicacies. I can remember asking my dad about the significance of Boxing day. He rattled some explanation which didn’t make much sense to me then as a kid. But as I advanced in age and learning I must have picked up the meaning on the way.
There exist several theories as regards the origin and significance of Boxing day but what is common to all is that it is a day to give gifts. The term “boxing” must have been derived from Christmas-box. The sort of gifts given were boxed, packaged or wrapped. People usually started giving these boxed gifts before Christmas day into Boxing day. Some have the culture of piling their gifts and opening them on Christmas or boxing day. It’s with a lot of enthusiasm and wistful expectation that the unboxing of those gifts is done.
From my growing up days, wrapped gifts were not limited to Christmas. My parents were given to giving. They gave a lot of these ‘boxed’ gifts to people around during occasions and events like birthdays, weddings, naming ceremonies, the list been endless; and so in return, we got a lot of these wrapped gifts too. It was a taboo for my mum to go for a birthday or wedding without taking a gift along for the celebrant or couple. And so for me, it became the norm. That was why it was really awkward when I found myself many years later in the university around friends and folks that would come storming a birthday party empty-handed, screaming and demanding for birthday cake, drinks and food. The celebrant would almost empty his pocket organising a party only to retire at the end of the day with zero gifts; nothing to show he was special to those hungry souls who just depleted his feeding money for the month.
If this anomaly was limited to birthday celebrants I won’t have bothered much. But the wedding celebrants too have been getting their fair share. During one of my cousin’s wedding recently, I was disappointed when I saw the amount of gifts they were leaving with at the end of the reception. I tried matching the number of individuals that crowded the large auditorium and the gifts; the gifts were horribly small. I grew up to meet my parents’ wedding gifts. Their gifts were so numerous that it took them years to even unwrap some. They gave out some of them to others because of how abundant they were.
What happened to this giving culture? Why can’t people around you receive gifts (especially wrapped ones) from you anymore? I miss those wrapped gifts! I believe the culture should be restored. It’s an awesome way to show love and honour. Everyone should get a gift, including the rich. Away with the mentality that only the poor and needy deserve gifts. Everyone deserves love and everyone has a need – a desire to be loved. And your gift may just be that provision that perfectly meets that need.
I get this a lot: “Bro, I don’t know what to give? How do I know what gift this person will appreciate?” Note that the first principle in giving gifts is that what is more important is not merely what is given but the very gesture of giving. It’s a gesture of love. Next, you need to consider who you’re giving to; what needs that person has; what the person places value on; favourite hobby, colours, food and so on. Gender is also something to note. What ladies place premium on is quite different from what men value. Your gift can be quality and yet inexpensive and affordable.
In giving gifts I personally employ giving them in three categories all in one wrap, and this has worked very well for me. The gift types are usually a tangible (long lasting one) such as a book, another with a personal effect like clothing, wristwatch, perfume etc. and an edible. Wrapping gifts from each of these categories all in one wrap works really well. There’s a gift to always remember you with years to come, another to put on or meet personal needs and another to satisfy belly needs immediately. Over the years I even developed an additional culture of asking the Holy Spirit to lead me as regards which gift to give. I usually feel elated when the gift recipient tells me afterwards “Bro Gideon, your gift is just exactly what I need. How did you know?”
Let’s revive the giving culture. Don’t go to ceremonies empty-handed again. No matter how small, still give. And please don’t forget to wrap your gifts neatly, it’s the icing on the cake.
Happy boxing day!