Does Your Family Have Gift Giving Traditions?

Book Discussion

Gal's family in Margaret Dilloway's The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns is not really your typical happy family. They aren't unhappy but there are divisions and strife. The two sisters do not get along and hardly know each other any more, yet there are moments where they are connected. The sisters had very different experiences growing up but there was one thing that was the same for both of them -- the charm bracelets they received on their sixteenth birthdays and that they both give to Riley.

"The following week is Riley's birthday, August 5. I get up early to assemble her gift: a sterling silver charm bracelet. To start her off, I've chosen a tiny silver palette charm, with crystals standing in for paint; a Minnie Mouse with moving legs; and a miniature silver microscope. The idea is for her to add to it as she develops new interests or visits new places." page 295

As we read we find out that Gal has taken to this tradition with gusto. She has so many charms on her bracelet that the clasp has had to be reinforced. Becky, however, never really seemed to take to her charm bracelet. Years later it still only has one charm. I got the impression that Gal was surprised that Becky had remembered the tradition and had gifted Riley with a bracelet as well. Their bracelets were very different. Gal gave Riley something she could use to grow. Becky tried hard to make up for all the things that hadn't been by filling the bracelet with charms that did not allow growth. How they chose to give their gifts said a lot about who each of the women were.

charm bracelet

Credit: Nick Harris on Flickr

My family doesn't really have traditional gifts. My mother will do her best to make a baby blanket for each family member and friend that enters the world but we don't have a traditional coming of age gift. I'm kind of jealous of those that do because I think traditions are lovely. In my family of two we work on building our own traditions. Granted our traditions tend toward the silly rather than the serious but that makes them all the more fun.

Did your family have traditional gifts when you were growing up? Do you or do you plan to continue those traditions with your own family?

BlogHer Book Club Host Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.


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