When I was a child, it was called a Kris Kringle. I never did get to ask my teachers why it was called thus - or probably I wasn't listening when they did tell us. And then when I reached College (not very long ago, I might add), it was suddenly called Manito-Manita. And suddenly, too, it wasn't about giving one gift, but several - one was required to give something long and hard on Monday, white and milky on Tuesday, soft and smelly on Wednesday, hairy with balls on Thursday, etc. And yes, the themes always bordered on the naughty and the ribald.
At the office, someone came up with this brilliant idea to assign parts of the house as themes for the weekly gift-giving. So the other week, it was something for the kitchen (I promptly got a vegetable peeler - the poor bloke who bought it must be someone who doesn't spend much time in the kitchen - he bought the first kitchen implement that struck his mind). And then something for the bathroom (I got a tabo - there's a Filipino item one doesn't get as a gift often). And tomorrow, it will be something for the bedroom (I hope I do not get condoms as I have no use for them at the moment). I didn't realize how literal people could be - I thought that the themes were metaphorical - but then again, I was the kid who in Grade 2 questioned "Daniel and the Lions" and insisted the lions were mere symbols, so it is probably just me.
Anyway. Today, they actually set price limits (minimum worth of the gifts!) for the gift-giving. I always speak out against price limits in gift giving because silly old me, I cling to the belief no matter how idealistic that it is the darn thought that matters. But I guess people want to make sure that they get value for value so I will be looking around for a meaningful gift that describes me worth 250 pesos, inclusive of wrapper. And if I happen to find an object descriptive of me that is less than the amount prescribed (Sigh, how can I be worth less than 250?) I am obligated to include loose change in the gift as well. So much for spreading the true spirit of the season!
And that is how we will be spending the next few days - trading materials things under the guise of spreading love.