CHINESE GIFTS OF LOVE

xmas chinese  gifts

Long, long time ago, in a country far, far away, there was a very poor couple who had nothing very much. However, they felt they had a lot because they loved each other very much. What he loved most about her was her long blond hair. He would watch the wind play with it when they went for a walk. He would wrap it around his neck when they made love and buried his face in the fragrance of her hair. How he would love to give her the gold hair clip that she so wanted. Each time they passed the jeweller’s shop, she would steal a glance at it longingly.

Apart from his wife’s golden tresses, he loved most was a watch his father gave him. He would keep it in his pocket and occasionally take it out to admire it. He would love to wear it but could not afford to buy a chain to go with it.

How his wife would love to give him a golden chain so he could wear it, she thought, each time she saw him caressed it and then put it back into his pocket sadly.

Then on Christmas Eve, the wife had a brilliant idea. Desperate to give her husband a wonderful present, she cut her hair and sold it. With the money, she bought her husband the chain for his watch. She tied a scarf to hide her shorn head, and after finishing their simple Christmas dinner, she surprised him with his present. She urged him to bring out his watch, but he shook his head. He gave her a present instead. Opening it, she gasped when she saw the hair clip from the shop. He had sold his watch in order to buy his wife’s present.


All of you must have heard some version of this story. For this Christmas editorial, I remember this story and would like us to contemplate the notion of gifts. How do we give? Some with great love, others with duty and obligation, yet others do it unthinkingly, hurriedly. The best gifts are those that come with love. They are often chosen or made with thoughtfulness.

One Christmas, I decided to teach my family and friends about this by insisting that I did not want anything bought but made. I started sprouting seeds in plastic Coca Cola bottles in September and by Christmas, everyone got seedlings of some sort. I wrote stories for the children making them as the central characters. Then each story was rolled into a scroll and tied with a ribbon to save on wrapping paper. Another Christmas, I insisted that all presents should be fifty cents only – that was a real challenge even back in the eighties.

Gifts don’t have to be bought or made. I asked for things to be done for me that I don’t like doing such as ironing – how about a gift of 2 hours ironing every Christmas. A bit like a gift voucher. If 12 friends or cousins would give me 2 hours of ironing time I would have a years’ clothes done in no time.

How about giving someone listening time? Most people need someone to listen to them especially if they have a problem. Talking to someone who really listens is a real gift. You go away lighter after you have unburdened your heart. Or head for that matter.
So for this Christmas, don’t worry about buying presents, spending money and fighting the crowds, just sit somewhere quietly and contemplate what you can truly give to someone with a lot of love.

PS: Or, give a gift voucher from us for someone wanting to learn Chinese Mandarin or Cantonese! We teach Chinese in an online environment which is totally engaging and fun, check us out at ChinesebyDesign or if you are in Australia, ACCS.


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