Sunday, November 02, 2014

How we do Birthdays and other Gifts

Happy DSD! How have you been spending this weekend?
I have happily collected The Lilypad Blog Hop Freebie kit, shopped the discounts at their Store, and picked up their free with purchase Collab. I'm a happy scrapper today!

And yes I also completed my October Project Life pages!
(2 hours on Friday at the computer, 1.5 hours on Sun writing and adding physical elements) Woo Hoo!

First I listed down the stories I wanted to tell in this months' project life pages (on the left), then roughly sketched the layouts (yup, messy works)

Then I chose the photos and arranged them into 4x6 photo sizes, added digital elements, and printed them at my local photo lab.

Finally I choose a few physical journal cards, then handwrite everything, including writing on the photos. I like the informal, personal look of handwritten journaling.

Nowadays I also have fun adding a few physical elements, like letter stickers, the wood veneer elements (I bought a Studio Calico set with a coupon), and these emoticon stickers from a local stationary store!

In October we were very happy to celebrate my mom in law's birthday, and my niece's pre-wedding ceremonies. A few weeks before the actually wedding, our chinese tradition is for both families to exchange gifts (in the past they were considered dowry) and various items to signify good wishes for the couple, and their future children. A very happy time!

How we do Birthdays 
October is also dh's birthday, and in recent years we have had more fun with each others' birthdays, planning surprises and the like (perks of having teens who don't need us so much now, ha!)

We have always felt that our modern lives are filled with too much 'stuff', and we generally don't give each other big gifts, nor do we do gifts for Valentines and Anniversaries. We do write each other long cards for each of these occasions, and sometimes go for a nice dinner:) There is of course the expensive bracelet dh got me for our twentieth anniversary, only to realise it was one year too early! It was a laugh, and so precious. On our actual twentieth anniversary I gave him the Twentieth Anniversary photobook :)

Similarly our boys are very good with not demanding or expecting presents. On their last two birthdays they have shared a present (their birthdays are 3 days apart), and many of their earlier presents were pre-owned Lego sets purchased over the internet! Still equally fun as new!

Also for Christmas, my husband's big family used to celebrate with every pair of aunts and uncles getting a present for each of the children. About ten years ago we all agreed it was too much, and a poor lesson to the children about wants, waste and indulgence, and now we only do a gift exchange for one family member each. We have the same arrangement with our friends, and we use the secret Santa online service like this one. Thank God for like-minded family and friends!

Better still, recently I've been inspired by the Non-Consumer Advocate's family tradition of doing a Birthday Day of Adventures where their family spends the entire day going from activity to activity that caters to the birthday person's specific tastes, all a surprise planned ahead of time! How cool is that?

So for dh this year, I planned a day of adventure - and how lucky is he that Singapore hosts it's first year of the WTA (Women's Tennis Association Tournament) the week of his birthday! DH loves tennis and the semi finals fell on his birthday! On top of that he received free tickets on the day before so we caught two matches. How cool to catch Serena Williams (including an episode of her smashing her racket) and Anna Ivanovic and Simona Halep fight it out on the court in person! Here is the page of the Birthday Day of Adventure :)
What are your thoughts and practices on Birthday and Christmas gift-giving and receiving?

Finally, as I almost always tend to include nowadays: a page of the anecdotes, fun moments, funny quotes, and the like, seen and heard in our family this month.
Thanks for visiting and Happy DSD!


  1. We have been talking a lot (dh and I) about how we have TOO much stuff -- especially toys. My family still wants everyone to buy for everyone, and on my mom's side of the family, that includes several aunts, uncles, and cousins. It's overwhelming, and I've had a meltdown over all the STUFF at least once every Christmas for the past several years. I tried to get everyone to draw names for Christmas gifts, but they didn't like it. I've tried to ask my step-mom to only get the boys one gift each, but she goes overboard every year. A couple of years ago, they had more presents to open at her house than they did on Christmas morning at our own home. After I had one of my meltdowns in front of her, she scaled it back a bit, but now instead of giving them ten different wrapped gifts, she just crams all ten in one sack. Christmas is very stressful for me because of all the gifts. It's not supposed to be that way. Sigh... Sorry to vent! I guess you hit a nerve. ;) You are right that it is a blessing to have like-minded friends and family.

  2. Oh yes it is not easy to have everyone on the same page regarding gift-giving! Our family and our friends did not get to this point when the kids were younger. It was only after years of bringing home presents that we did not have space to store/were duplicates of what they already have/ were making them un-appreciative because they had way too many toys... that one of my sister in law bravely broached the subject, and soon we all agreed. It helps that as they grew older, there were less and less easy gift options. In fact my boys are hard-pressed for an answer when we now ask them what is that one gift they might want for Christmas (for gift exchange) haha!. It is indeed the hardest for grandparents who want so much to 'bless' the grandchildren. It helps that in chinese culture, it is customary for grandparents to give an 'angpow' or redpacket of a cash gift, so that really works for all :) All the best as you navigate this season as best as you can!

  3. I always love reading your blog. So funny about the 20th bracelet. Better early than late right? Yes we are such a materialist society and it is hard to get away from that. Finally all our family agreed and are still working to even minimize that. A day out with family sounds like such a great idea!! Keep up the good work. Thanks for the reminder about the coupon!

  4. Always so nice to hear from you Rhadonda. Thanks for the encouragement from like-minded friends like you!



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