A suitcase full of gifts

Last week B went home to Nepal for three weeks to celebrate Dashain together with his family. Unfortunately I need to stay in Sweden, because of my studies, I’m in the last year of my master’s programme and should focus on that. I wish I could go with him to Nepal though, I miss it a lot and can’t wait to go back. After my studies are finished I will definitely start joining B when he goes to Nepal.

Dashain is celebrated in Nepal since a few days back and will continue a few days more. It’s the biggest festival of the year and I use to compare it with our Christmas since the similar things is that its the main festival of the year and people buy new clothes during this time and give gifts or money to each other, perhaps mostly to the children in the family. I have been told about and read about the festival, why it’s celebrated and how, but since I have never celebrated it myself (yet) I don’t want to try to write about it, so I’m saving that for next year perhaps or the next one after that.

It’s been a year since B have been home and last year we didn’t buy many gifts. So because it’s been a year and also because it’s dashain we wanted to buy a few small gifts for the closest family. Having a big family or being as close to the extended family as B is (and what seems to be the norm in countries like Nepal) is really nice but it sure gets tricky when it comes to gifts.

We started with the plan to buy gifts for the closest family members, like father, mother, grandmother, brothers, their wives and children. We had bought a few gifts for the kids when we were at Disneyland Paris this summer so at least we didn’t need to find more gifts to them. It was not really difficult to find gifts for everyone, the guys got clothes and the women got beauty products and handbags. Perhaps a bit stereotypical to buy one type of gifts for the guys and another for the women, but it seemed more difficult to buy clothes for the women since we didn’t know their sizes and also because they normally wear more traditional clothes like sari and kurta suluwar.

After a while we also wanted to buy for the aunties since they are very close to the family and we also stayed with one of them on our visit last year. Then at the same time we thought we ought to buy for the two female cousins as well. There’s only two female cousins among Bs closest cousins so they get much gifts during festival times. Seems to me like the girls in the family usually get more gifts than the guys. We also wanted to buy something for two of the male cousins because they are the two youngest ones.

When we thought we had finished all the shopping we started to write down what we had bought and for whom. We realised that we had bought for all cousins (who were in the country) except one and that seemed unfair so we wanted to get something small for him as well, and then we realised that his wife was the only woman who didn’t get any gift so we had to buy something for her too. Finally we bought for the aunties husbands as well so they wouldn’t be the only ones in the family who didn’t get a gift. It was really difficult to stop this, when we bought for one then another one popped up that we ought to think about and buy for as well.

We had also just heard some good news, our close friends living in KTM is having a baby! So of course we wanted to bring them a gift for the coming baby and the mother-to-be also got a similar kit like the other females we bought for. Just when we thought we had finished all the shopping (again), we realised we didn’t have any sweets or candy, which was very popular last year. So we bought lots of candy and divided up into different bags for friends and family. Finally the shopping was complete! I gift wrapped everything in a few different papers and wrote name tags on all of them, otherwise I’m sure people would have gotten the wrong gifts. Good thing I used to work in a gift shop and can wrap things fast when it was so many gifts!

It was a lot of fun to figure out what to buy for all of them but when the number of people just keeps growing we have to stop some time and it felt good when we had reached that point because I was worried how all of it would fit into Bs luggage. I took a picture of (almost) all the gifts laid out on the sofa, but I don’t have the memory card with me, so picture is coming later!

Luckily I’m used to packing and think I can pack things quite well if I may say so myself. I saw it like a big jigsaw puzzle where each packed gift had its own place. The gifts took up most of the space in the suitcase and the clothing items were in the bottom. B didn’t pack much clothes though, he like to shop so if he needed anything else he could easily buy it there in Nepal. When the bag was full almost all of the gifts fit (a few had to go in the hand luggage) and the bag weight exactly 23 kg, which is the limit!

I think we probably won’t do like this every year, it will be too difficult to buy and pack for that many people every year. But it’s a lot of fun to give gifts, especially if it’s useful things and bought in another county. I look forward to hearing what they thought of all the gifts and if they liked them. We already have a short list of things we can bring next time that will be more household items and less personal gifts, more useful for the whole family.

Happy Dashain everyone! Hope you’re enjoying the festival with friends and family and have a great time! 🙂