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The Origins and History of Gift Giving

Gift-giving has been a long tradition that dates back thousands of years as far back as man can remember. As human beings, we are social creatures who enjoy each other’s company and expressing our feelings through the giving of gifts. Whether it is an expression of true love, appreciation of a job well done or just to show our gratitude for having someone as a friend, the giving of gifts is engrained into our DNA.

Curious History

Since the dawn of time, people have been giving gifts to each other. Giving gifts is a form expressing one’s love, respect, and affection to another. Studies show the presence of gift giving practice even among the early civilizations. It is also observed that the tradition of gift giving actually started sometime in the early 1900s. In olden times, people gave gifts to their tribal leaders and exchanged gifts among themselves. These gifts were primarily made from the bark and wood of trees. Gift giving has always been reciprocal, except when gifts were given to the leaders of state in various cultures. The heads received gifts in order to procure favour and express commitment. This practice is being followed even in the present day in different parts of the world.

Today, we ring in birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries and a whole lot of memorable occasions by exchanging gifts. Gifts are exchanged among families, friends, colleagues at work and others during festive occasions and holidays. It is customary to give gifts during Christmas and people all over the world celebrating Christmas follow this practice. It can almost be stated that gift-giving is synonymous with Christmas. Occasions like Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day etc., are also celebrated by giving gifts. Gifting is indeed one of the easiest of ways to spread happiness and delight. Here is an insight on how it all started.

The Psychology Behind Gift Giving

Today, gift giving is spread across all cultures around the world, from celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, offering good luck, best wishes for getting well, showing love and affection, or just saying thanks. Gifts are given to family members, friends, those we work with and even neighbors who receive gifts of all different types. There are large industries dedicated to creating and selling gifts that allow people even in the busiest of times to find the right type of present to give someone for many different reasons and occasions.

The psychology of why gift giving is so rewarding is simple it allows people to connect. The giver of a gift expresses their feelings and emotions by sending a gift with the hope of being able to share these with the receiver of the gift. The receiver of the gift in turn receives the feelings and emotions and with this a connection is made. Making connections with people around us gives us a sense of purpose and feeling of satisfaction. This feeling is one that enlightens the soul and brings out the best in us. There is an old saying “it is better to give than receive” and it has a special meaning especially when the realization of the benefits that it provides to those who give.

Why is it Important To Give Gifts?

There has been a considerable amount of research over the years into the feelings of wellbeing that occurs when we give gifts to those we care about. From as early as cavemen days gift giving has been rewarding which may be the reason it has stood the test of time. Here are some reasons as to why:

We Feel Happy: Simply put, the giving of gifts can make a person feel happier about themselves as well as to the person that has received their gift. In studies were people were asked to give gifts as a part of an experiment, the result was that people actually felt better and happier about their own lives.

Improve State of Mind: Research suggests that giving gifts may improve a person’s state of mind. If giving a gift makes you feel happier with a sense of purpose then this may inevitably improve your state of mind.

Greater Social Connection: By giving a gift, you not only expressing your feelings but building a stronger connection to that person as well. Not only does the person receiving the gift feel closer to the giver, but vice versa as well. This greater social connection also means an improvement in the state of being as well as overall happiness.

It’s Contagious: When a person starts giving gifts, not only will the recipient become more likely to give, those around them who see this act will start giving as well. This is in part due to the release of the endorphins, which not only benefits the giver, but is also felt by those who receive and see the act of giving as well.

References:

https://www.curioushistory.com/the-origins-and-history-of-gift-giving/

https://spoutfire.com/a-history-of-gift-giving/

A gold gift box with blue ribbon over white background
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