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Chaldean Christmas Gift Giving Suggestions
By Huda Metti :: Thursday, December 20, 2007 :: 42634 Views :: Article Rating :: Community & Culture

California, USA - Chaldeans in America have been blessed with abundance and are known for their generosity in sharing and helping others.  However, the Christmas customs in America can be rife with uncertainty for Chaldeans, since gift giving are one of the few expenses over which individuals in America have total discretion.  Nonetheless, there are a few time-honored guidelines that can make the decisions a little easier.

Gift giving can be a daunting task.  While any Chaldean would want to give everyone the greatest gift we are all limited by what we have.  We are limited by both time and money.  Having to choose who to give, what to give, how much to give are all difficult questions to answer. 

A guiding light in your gift giving calculations is to consider the deeds and needs of the recipient.   

The deeds represent the work of the recipient.  Do others benefit by their good work?  Have they dedicated themselves to the care and comfort of others?  Are they properly being rewarded for their sacrifice and service?  Will your gift encourage the person to continue doing their good work and as such benefit many others?

The needs represent the current situation of the recipient. What are their current challenges, economically, socially, or spiritually?  Would the gift be used to meet their needs or satisfy their wants?

Chaldeans may want to consider these common service providers that share their expertise and talent in hopes of comforting us. 

Children's caretakers: A small gift from the child is always appropriate. For regular babysitters, consider adding an evening's pay. A week's pay is normal for a nanny or sitter who cares for your children full-time.

If the child is in day care, and the company allows it, a tip of $25 to $70 for each caregiver is likely to be well received, advises the Emily Post Institute.

Personal Services: When it comes to hairstylists, aestheticians and manicurists, cash is king. Consider giving the cost of one service as a bonus.

These workers are usually dependent on tips to make a livable wage, so a holiday bonus is particularly helpful. The median hourly earnings of $12.40 for a hairstylist is 24% tips, for instance, while a manicurist's pay is 19% tips, according to salary site

The cost of one service or a gift is an appropriate tip for personal trainers and massage therapists.

Household Services: A gift of $20 to $50 is customary for garden workers, while the norm for a pool-cleaning service is the cost of one cleaning, to be split among the crew, the Emily Post Institute says. For housekeepers and cooks, one week's pay is appreciated. For regular deliverymen, garbage collectors and newspaper deliverers, a gift of $10 to $30 is customary, PayScale says.

Don't try to give cash to a postal worker, though, since it's against government rules. A gift worth up to $20 is all that's permitted.

Teachers, Clergy, and nursing-home employees: These dedicated professionals have committed their lives to making us better.  Be generous in what you give. These individuals invest in our well being and the gift given is proven to be a wise investment.  Keep in mind your school teachers, tutors, and catechist / communion teachers, they are often undervalued for their service and catechist and communion teachers are volunteers. 

Clergy and home care health providers should be a generous must for any Chaldean.  Contrary to those selfishly justifying their lack of generosity home care providers are not well covered by insurance and clergy do not live in abundance.  Why do you think there is a shortage of nurses and clergy?  These mortal angels struggle daily to inspire and rebuild lives.  Giving a generous gift to these compassionate servants is returned to you ten-fold.

Nurses will often spend their gift in adding to the comfort of those they care.  Same goes for Clergy.  In the Chaldean community those in desperate need are often uncomfortable with expressing their dire situation with the public.  Turning to our clergy is a way to receive support without the perceived burden of shame. When giving to the clergy much of those gifts go towards helping those in the shadows of our community that turn to our community leaders for assistance and discretion. 

Importantly, the encouraging gesture of our gratitude is way to keep these tireless souls tolerant of the hardship they face in healing the bodies and souls of our community.            

Chaldeans should remember that for many of these workers, a year-end bonus "has to come from you" or it won't be paid, says PayScale's director of quantitative analysis, Al Lee.

Obviously what you give must accommodate your budget and working relationships. But try to be thoughtful about the decision and be mindful of the deeds and needs of those you choose to give a gift.

St. Thomas, MI USA

St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church
6900 Maple Rd.
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Tel: (248) 788-2460
Fax: (248) 788-2153

Founding Pastor:
Rev. Hanna Cheikho

Current Pastor:
Rev. Frank Kalabat

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes, Retired  

Rev. Frank Kalabat

Rev. Frank Kalabat was born in 1970 in San Diego, California and entered St. Francis Seminary of San Diego, California.  The admission to the Catholic seminary made him the first born U.S. Chaldean to enter an American seminary.  In 1992, Fr. Kalabat continued his studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.  In July 1995, shortly after graduation he was ordained as priest by His Excellency Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim.  

Fr. Frank chose Mother of God Parish in Southfield, MI. as his first assignment serving the Chaldean community as an associate pastor for half a decade.  In 2001, Fr. Kalabat was elected to serve as Pastor of St. Tomas Parish in West Bloomfield, Michigan where he remains today.   

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1942. Upon graduation Fr. Abrahim was admitted to St. Peter Chaldean Seminary in Baghdad, Iraq.  After a decade of studies and numerous degrees, Fr. Abrhim was ordained a priest in 1967.  He chose to continue ministering in Baghdad, Iraq.  There he was appointed the headmaster of the catechism at Mother of Sorrows Cathedral.  Fr. Abrahim also assisted St. Therese Church in Baghdad until 1978.  Afterward he was asked to assist St. Joseph Church in Baghdad and was appointed Parochial Vicar from 1978-1992. 

In 1992, Fr. Abrahim was called upon to assist the growing Chaldean population in Michigan.  Upon his arrival he was assigned to St. Joseph Church in Tory, Michigan.  Two years later Fr. Abrahim was asked to become the pastor of a Parish community in Windsor, Canada  where he remained the parish pastor until 2001.

Continuing demographic changes in Michigan required Fr. Abrahim to return to St. Joseph Parish in Tory as a Parochial Vicar, where he remained until 2006.  In 2006 he was elected to St. Thomas Parish as Parochial Vicar in West Bloomfield, MI. where he currently serves the Chaldean community.


Rev. Emmanuel Rayes

Rev. Emmanuel Rays was born in Araden, Iraq in 1930.  He studied at St. John Dominican Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in 1954.  The Chaldean catholic ambassador ministered in northern Iraq from 1954-1963, in Syria and Lebanon from 1963-1980, and in the United Stated from 1980 to the present day.
Form 1980-1983, he was appointed associate pastor at Mother of God Parish in Southfield, Michigan.  From 1983-1989 he served as pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit, Michigan.  During the early 1990’s he ministered to the Chaldean community in Farmington Hills and was at St. Joseph Parish in Tory where he was Parochial Vicar until 2000.

Although Fr. Rayes retired in 2001, he remains active in serving the community.  He is the author of many articles in Arabic and is the editor-in-chief of the Al Mishal and Al-Tariq magazine.  He has translated and continues to translate many books from French and English into Arabic.