Sunday, July 04, 2010

Rules when receiving gifts

Last week I received an amazing amount of gifts from North America.

First from Davíð's grandparents who were in the country, then from a fabulous family of American couchsurfers, and again from Davíð's uncles who are now visiting in Iceland.

Now in each of these circumstances I try to show how seriously grateful I am, because I am. Everyone has been so kind to me, but I am a little worried that I dont know how to act anymore. I am afraid I have melted into some half Canadian, half Icelandic attitude, that may come of as indifference - the last thing I want.

You see, usually when ever you give a gift in Iceland it is taken, often left wrapped, and whisked away, never be mentioned again.

In fact, when I worked at Toys R Us I often saw parents bring in bags of gifts there child had received, most not even opened, and return them all for a credit note in the store. We actually ended up unwrapping the gifts with the parents to scan them. Needless to say after that I stopped shopping for gifts and only give cash, save them the trouble and my own time.

Point is that when you give a gift it is taken, a little thanks is said and thats it. End of discussion, could never have happened.

Yet I seem to remember more of a ceremony to things in Canada, you would thank the person, maybe hug them and when ever you saw them after that, mention how useful the gift is or was.

When a child received a gift they were expected to thank the giver personally and the parent might even send a picture of the child and gift together to the giver.

It was just a big deal.

Now after years of the opposite, I have contained the bursting, thank you thank you thank you, Canadian in me and find myself, smiling and nodding polity and not making a big fuss.

And Davíð says I am only 10% Icelandic!

Problem is when I receive gifts from North Americans who are waiting excitement, I forget what to do. I feel unsure, and a little insecure.

I think this is a feeling that may come up a lot when I do go home to visit because there are a many differences between Iceland and Canada, and I have now been here long enough that the Iceland way actually feels more natural now.


  1. Anonymous5:57 AM

    You better not be acting like that when you come around me kt, or I will personally put you back on a plane and send your a$$ back to Iceland....

    PS Have you recieved my gift yet??

  2. hehehehehe
    I know!
    And I have NOT received my gift yet- you better talk to the sea turtle you hired to bring it out here, he must have been side tracked!