Made in Macao | The greatest gift of all

Jenny Lao-Phillips

This is the season to be shopping. You see people making lists and thinking of buying special gifts, but it is getting harder to achieve. As soon as the Christmas decorations are up in town, all the shops will be preparing special Christmas gifts packages or offering Christmas sales. Every weekend people are going shopping to get presents for their friends and loved ones. It is the most difficult time of year for me.

For one thing, I am not one who loves shopping. Most of the time, I am even too lazy to shop for new clothes for myself. Usually, I’ll wait till my mother complains that my clothes are worn out or they all look the same. Then my loving mother will shop for me. Then, there is the prosperous economic situation of Macao.

Everyone I know seems to have no lack of anything. In fact, I think most of my family and friends already have everything they need, so it is quite difficult to decide what to buy for others. Especially when one does not know what the others want or like. Finally, there is the problem of waste. If I get something for someone that they do not like or have no use for, it is an accumulative waste. Firstly, it wastes the time and money spent on buying it. Secondly, the product itself goes to waste for not being used. Most importantly, it takes up valuable space in other’s home. While we have no lack of material things, space is something I believe lots of people lack. And it is not like I can afford to buy storage rooms for my loved ones to store their gifts.

I know my idea of gift-giving is very unromantic. A present itself is a sign of one caring for another, and it is supposed to be a symbol of love rather than purchased for its utility. But in this sense, it gives me an even worse headache. What if I accidentally get something that my friend is allergic to? To prevent this, one should avoid food and drinks, cosmetics, and other beauty products, unless we know what brands our friends are able to use. One can always try accessories, but it takes time to choose the right ones for the right people, and having very bad fashion sense, I do not seem to notice any of my acquaintances wearing the accessories I have given them in the past.

But accessories and clothing are easy choices. That is probably why clothes and shoes are the most widely bought gifts for Christmas. They are personal and it is assumed that everyone has a use for them. However, a website also showed that they are some of the most returned Christmas gifts. On another website, I have read that some of the most unwelcomed Christmas presents are cups and towels. Now, I don’t understand that – cups and towels are things that everyone needs to use. They do not take up much space and they are durable and need replacing often. I think they are great gifts.

Every year, after a lot of pondering about what Christmas gifts to buy, I often end up with one of the greatest Chinese inventions – Lai Si (red packets). Lai Si are mostly given out during Chinese New Year. But Lai Si means luck, and luck is always welcome at any time of the year. They are small and will not take up space, and they are easy to carry, with no extra bags needed to carry a bunch of Christmas gifts. More importantly, they allow the receiver to actually buy something they like. So, I stand by my verdict that Lai Si is the greatest gift of all.

Categories Opinion