Christmas Aguinaldo for Children - the Box or the Envelope?

5:58 AM

In the Philippines, the Christmas aguinaldo or gift for children either comes in a box or an envelope.  A boxed gift represents items that can be used by the child such as toys, clothes, or gadgets.  An enveloped gift represents money which can be used by the child to buy an item or items of his or her own choosing. In this age and time, in what form should we give gifts to our children?

The Practice of Aguinaldo Giving

The aguinaldo is an inherited tradition from our Spanish colonizers.  However, the practice of aguinaldo giving does not only happen in the Philippines.  Countries like Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Trinidad and Tobago also have this although not exactly the same as Filipinos are accustomed to.  These three countries' idea of aguinaldo are more in line with each other because they all connect aguinaldo to a musical gift.  It is supposed to be a Christmas musical genre that commemorates Jesus and the joy of Christmas.

In the Philippines, the closest relation to music of aguinaldo is the caroling done by children with the expectation of getting cash or coins.  It isn't quite clear why the aguinaldo came to refer to the "money gift" .  Today, aguinaldo can refer to a boxed gift or money gift typically placed inside a regular envelope or traditional Chinese red envelope.  The latter is a borrowed tradition from the Chinese where red envelopes that contain money are given by grandparents and parents to the younger generation during New Year.  

The Filipino Practice

The traditions of Christmas are observed primarily for the benefit of children especially during these economically difficult times.  Parents will try to find ways so that children will get to enjoy the Season like children should,  Being young, the children's concept of the spirit of Christmas is still limited  and is usually confined to material benefits which come in the form of gifts from parent, grandparents, and the notoriously hiding godparents.

There was a time that gifts for children were mostly toys and clothes. then came the gadgets.  Giving money as gifts for children has always been there somewhere.  It just became more prevalent lately since more and more people are seeing the practicality of allowing children to choose what they want by just giving money.  This gives rise to the question of which is the better gift option to give to children.

My Say

When it comes to gift-giving, I am a hold-over of the traditional type.  I prefer to buy gifts which I think a child would like and am not inclined to give money because the amount provides an automatic price tag to it.  Besides, I think that gift-giving is something personal especially when it involves people that matter to me.  

That said, I am really interested to know how others think about this issue.  So please take time to comment what you think.  For the Christmas aguinaldo for children, would it be the box or the envelope?

Vote on the upper right hand corner of this page.  Thank you.

Regalo - any physical or material gift other than money
Pera - money gift 

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