10 zł. 50 zł. Zbieramy! Na co? Wszystko.
I noticed recently that Poles love to składać się. Złożyć się. Zrzucić się. Whatever you want to call it. If you don’t know what it means, it’s chipping in to buy one, usually bigger, gift for someone for a certain occasion. What kind of occasion? Pretty much all of them. Why and how does it work? Read on to find out.
This is another great Polish tradition, which I’m almost fully behind, with some exceptions. There are millions of occasions in Poland to buy someone a gift and it can get tiring. So, typically, when someone says “let’s all chip in and buy one nice thing for someone” – I’m in 👍 This is often for birthday parties – weirdly not family birthday parties it seems, at least not in my family. But for parties with friends for sure.
The reason for it is certainly financial. In this way, everyone pays less and the person gets one cool gift they really want instead of a bunch of small ones. Cool idea, in general. But sometimes it goes too far, in my opinion. I’ll explain why below.
What other occasions might you składać się?
Gift for your university advisor or homeroom teacher at the end of the semester 👩🎓 – Kind of a weird tradition that seems to be more for boosting grades than really truly being grateful. We never did this kind of thing in the States.
Baby showers 🤰- This makes sense because soon-to-be parents need big, expensive things like strollers or cribs and everyone can go in together to buy something they really need.
Bachelor/bachelorette parties 👰 – Very often the attendees of these delightful events are expected to cover the costs of whatever it is the bride/groom to be thinks up – in addition to a gift. So you’ll probably be chipping in more than for other occasions like birthdays.
Teachers’ day 🍎 – Ok, here’s where I start to draw the line. I get it if it’s for someone you know well. The spouse of your friend can organize the gift for their partner or a best friend for a baby shower. But now the parents at my kid’s preschool want to chip in for mugs and flowers for the teachers. There are 4 teachers, ok, but just why? I firstly don’t really want to give them a mug. Maybe they get them every year and mają po prostu dość tymi kubkami. Also, we don’t all know each other really well, so we have to awkwardly ask about bank accounts, and not everyone is in the WhatsApp group, etc. One poor sap has to take care of it – for sure some mom who has better things to do, frankly. Millions of propositions and text messages later, we have one idea which not everyone is happy with. It’s just too complicated.
Granted, you can refuse to składać się, but then everyone will probably despise you 😅 I’m already different, so I’m not gonna go and make it worse. I’m just saying, do we really have to chip in for absolutely everything? I know it saves money and time, but, occasionally, I wanna buy my own damn gift!
So, next time you go to some kind of birthday party, you might be asked to składać się. On the whole, I think around 50 zł is an appropriate amount to contribute, but it really depends on how many people there are and what kind of gift you’re buying.
Are you a fan of this custom? Let me know what you think in the comments.