Guide to Gift Giving: Ube Cake and Etiquette
Mira and Teyus were deep in conversation, talking animatedly. Grandma who was listening intently, burst out laughing when she heard how Teyus had learned to climb a tree in the Philippines.
When she stopped laughing, she interrupted. “OK, OK. Look what I ordered from the lovely Filipino bakery today.”
She set down a tall, layered purple cake with white icing on the table and started carving out pieces. It was beautifully decorated and looked delicious.
Grandma informed the travellers that it was called Ube Cake and was made from purple yams. The kids dug into their generous slices and continued to tell Grandma about their fascinating trip to Manila.
Mira was particularly touched by Nonoy’s mother and how she had to move to a different country for work. Mira had seen many Filipino women in Toronto taking care of other families but had never thought about where their own families were.
Grandma could sense that Mira and Teyus were happy they gave the beautiful box from the great Silk Road to Nonoy. She was right, it made them feel great to help someone in need.
Thinking back through the years, Grandma smiled. The joy she felt giving gifts to her grandkids was one of her greatest pleasures in life. The look on their faces and the excitement in their voices was always worth it. She suspected this is why grandparents like to spoil their grandkids with presents and treats.
“Mummy says she never really knows what to give people”, Mira shared.
Teyus quipped, “My dad just grumbles whenever he has to give gifts, he keeps saying it’s ‘unnecessary’. What do you think Grandma?”
Grandma Tara nodded. As a child, her own mother made her read several books about gift-giving etiquette (that’s just a fancy way of saying “how to behave”). A lot of the information in the books seemed like nonsense back then and it certainly felt even more outdated now. She thought for a moment about how she would answer her grandson.