‘Push Presents’ – Tacky or Tasteful

18 May

So, today I learned that I am part of an ‘appalling new trend’ – that is according to Mia Freedman – a writer, social commentator, and general expert on all thing women, whose blog (http://www.mammamia.com.au/) I read religiously and highly enjoy. I think she’s terrific. However, I seem to have found myself in Mia’s bad books because I had the audacity to receive a ‘push present’ from my husband. Actually, I’ve received two. One for each baby. 

Mia writes Sometimes, I just want to say STOP IT. Stop. It. Stop making beautiful, meaningful, life-changing events into material THINGS… ENOUGH with the ostentatious presents and parties and renewal of vows. How about the BABY being enough of a gift and…if you are seized by the compulsion to spend money to celebrate your baby’s birth, donate it to a child or mother who has nothing. So she can buy food or medicine or education for her child……

What prompted Mia’s rant (read it in full here) were stories in the media of both Rachel Zoe and Mariah Carey receiving highly expensive pieces of jewellery as ‘rewards’ for having their babies. In both cases, the jewellers behind the sparklers announced these gifts to the world, thereby garnering a fair amount of publicity for themselves.
Now, I have to agree that using a baby’s birth to generate publicity is pretty awful. But what would you expect from Mariah Carey and Rachel Zoe, neither of whom seem to have an ounce of common sense, and are certainly not candidates for citizens of the year awards.

But at its heart, the ‘push present’ is simply a gift, albeit with a very crass name. And since when did gift giving become such a crime? Freedman writes that having the baby should be gift enough. And that is true – a healthy baby is a wondrous thing. But – let’s extend Mia’s principle across the board and see how it holds up. Having a birthday? Nup, no gift for you. Being alive is a present enough. Mother’s Day gift? Forget it. You should just be grateful for being a mother – you don’t need a reward for all the night waking, cooking, cleaning, feeding that you do – it’s your privilege. Gotten engaged? Don’t bother with a ring. Just having a fiance is your reward.

The reason people give gifts is to show appreciation for someone, to show they care, and to give them a boost, which, god knows, we all need sometimes. As much as we hate to admit it, material things can bring us pleasure. Sure, loving and being loved brings more pleasure – but who would deny that it’s nice to wear a sparkly bit of jewellery. Is that really such a crime?

So, let me explain my own situation regarding my ‘push present’. I neither asked for one, nor expected it, nor advertised it to my friends. I certainly didn’t have Goldmark on speed dial when I gave birth. No, my husband, off his own bat, went and found a beautiful ring and presented me with it a few weeks after the birth, a time when I was still feeling pretty sore and sorry, and living in the fog of 3 – 4 feeds per night. Let’s just say, it was a lovely gesture at a time when I needed it. To me, the ring symbolised my husband’s appreciation for the 9 months of nausea, heartburn, leg cramps, weight gain and tiredness I’d been through – not to mention the 12 hour labour at the end, complete with an episiotomy. It was also a symbol of the absolute joy and euphoria we both felt when our precious girl was born. Every time I look at that ring, I’m transported back to that day and the joyful memories it holds. Not that I necessarily need a reminder – every time my daughter opens her mouth (which is A LOT) I’m reminded of our luck. BUT – it is nice to have something to carry with me. Just as some men get their kids names tattooed on their leg/arm/wherever – my ring is a reminder, for me, of just how lucky I am. Ultimately, the idea is that this piece of jewellery will become a family heirloom. One day I will give this ring to my daughter for her to carry around as a reminder of her Mum and Dad – and just how much we loved her. Yes, yes I know she will carry memories of us in her head – but as I say – what’s wrong with having a concrete symbol as well? Ever heard of a possession having ‘sentimental value’ – well, that’s what this is.

As for the ‘push present’ being an ‘appalling new trend’, I have to disagree. It’s a tradition that’s been around a long while, it just went under a nicer name, called an eternity ring – and I don’t hear anyone accusing their mothers and grandmothers for being ‘crass’ for receiving one.

Ultimately, I think it’s up to every individual couple. If you give a donation to charity to celebrate your child’s birth – great. If you get a bunch of flowers – terrific. If someone gives you a voucher for a massage – fantastic. If your husband gives you a ring – fine. I don’t think it makes you a criminal, unless of course, you steal it.



2 Responses to “‘Push Presents’ – Tacky or Tasteful”

  1. Anonymous May 18, 2011 at 3:46 am #

    well technically it would make your husband the criminal because he might have stolen it….then it would become a "hot push present" which sounds very uninviting….

  2. Miss T May 18, 2011 at 5:56 am #

    Well said. The first thing I thought when I read this was "But, I would like an eternity ring.. I thought that was tradition?" Have to say the term "push present" sounds awful, but there's nothing wrong with the sentiment. I also don't think there's anything wrong with a party or renewing your vows. We have a dinner to celebrate our anniversary with our close friends each year (have only been married for 2 years). I didn't think that was wrong. We wanted to celebrate with people. That said, we don't give each other anniversary gifts and that's usually considered convention. So maybe we're just weird… T.

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