Just like that, Christmas is right around the corner once again.
For many of us, the holidays can be quite an exciting time: endless parties and feasting, thirteenth month bonuses, the exchange of presents, and midnight madness sales. If you have relatives or friends abroad, the Yuletide season also means one other thing: the omnipresent balikbayan box.
But we won’t talk about that today. In fact, we’re doing quite the opposite. I mean, come on, your OFW relatives and friends probably send you stuff all the time, but have you ever taken a moment to think about what you can give them this Christmas?
If the thought has only occurred to you just now, worry not. Admittedly, migrants and expats aren’t the easiest people to shop for, especially since they often have limited baggage allowance when they do visit and also because, well, what can you get someone who lives or works in a country where milk and orange juice, among other things, are sold by the gallon?
Quite a few, it seems. Scroll down and find out what your OFW loved ones would appreciate receiving this holiday season:
- A Taste of Home. Literally.
- New Luggage.
- Gift Cards That Can Be Applied to Their Favorite App.
- Plug Adaptors or Converters.
- Plane Tickets.
No matter how much you may dislike your home country, you always seem to miss its food. Sure, Australia has great steaks and seafood, but I’m willing to bet that our kababayans there get a hankering for daing, lechon, or good ol’ instant pancit canton all the time.
While there are stores abroad that sell standard Filipino cuisine fare, these are often sold at a high mark-up to make up for importation costs, Plus, I have yet to hear of any Filipino migrant who would turn down a free basket or box of smoked tawilis in olive oil or any other common item in a Filipino fridge that they don’t have easy access to.
Can’t afford to fill up a box and send it all the way Down Under? You can always put together something like a pancit-making kit with dry ingredients and present it to your recipient when they visit for the holidays.
With so many expenses to budget for, lots of OFW’s often neglect to update their traveling gear, but with all the wear and tear that their luggage goes through, you can bet that they’d welcome a new set as a present.
When choosing which luggage to give as a present, remember to go for the ones with measurements that adhere to airline standards, have easy rolling wheels, and have tamper-proof zippers and/or locks.
PRO-TIP: Big malls in the Philippines often feature high-quality luggage on sale during payday. Be sure to check them out when you get your December paycheck.
Think Spotify, Amazon, or any other app that your friend or relative living abroad frequently uses or would really find useful. As a bonus, this is one present that doesn’t cost much and won’t require shipping, but will definitely brighten someone’s day.
It sounds utterly basic, but adaptors that are well-suited to the socket type in an OFW’s base country would make a practical gift. Yep, electric sockets in Australia differ from the ones we have here, and it can be a pain in the butt to have to buy an adaptor for each appliance that a migrant or expat might bring to their new country.
If your intended recipient does a lot of traveling on the side, you can also get them a multi-purpose plug that adapts to any electronic socket. You can find these in travel shops or even in airline catalogs, making them a perfect last-minute present.
This one is a stretch, but if you really want to give back and/or have deep pockets (or are just really savvy with credit card points and miles), you can always book a plane ticket home for the significant OFW in your life. Just make sure you coordinate with them about any holiday plans, particularly if they have enough work leaves to see them through a Yuletide trip back home.
Or if your loved one can’t fly out to you, why not surprise them with a December visit? The one thing that their hard-earned dollars can’t get them, after all, is the gift of your presence, and this can greatly ease the loneliness that tends to shadow them this time of year.
Okay, so not all the items on the previous list would come cheap, admittedly, but considering the many sacrifices that OFW’s put in just to keep everyone at home happy all year-round, perhaps it’s high time that we surprise them with something nice and thoughtful this Christmas.