The Why Behind Gift-Giving
Admit it - we all like being surprised with a gift once in a while.
Butwhat’s in a gift? At face value, a gift is simply a token given from the goodness of one’s heart. A gift can be as small as a hairpin or as big as a house, or it can be intangible - like the gift of time and attention. But regardless of its form or function, a gift always means more than the item in itself.
Gift-giving is a highly pervasive practice - for birthdays, special occasions, andeverything else in between. It is a universal language we use to wish one well, show our appreciation, and express our support. When at a loss for words, a gift gets the message across.
Our cavemen ancestors have been known to give animal teeth or unique stones to mark momentous occasions. Today, the gifts may differ, but the traditions remain the same. Even if we can buy things ourselves, there is a special kind of joy in receiving them as gifts. And surprisingly, people look forward to giving gifts as well - despite receiving nothing in return.
So if gifts are all about giving, what motivates people to do it?
Motivations behind gift giving
FOR OTHERS: Makes the recipient happy
We give gifts primarily for the benefit of the person we deliver to, while also letting them feel how much we value them. By providing practical and sentimental items for their use, we help relieve their struggles and bring joy to their lives.
FOR YOURSELF: Makes you feel good
Funny how when one gives gifts, he reaps the rewards as well. Some people give gifts with a slight hope of getting something in return - may it be in the form of another gift or for someone to put in a good word for them.
One also gives gifts to demonstrate their understanding and thoughtfulness for another person. While surely your recipient feels touched that you listen to them and remember their needs, there’s no denying that making someone happy makes you feel great inside as well.
But self-serving reasons aside, giving is part of human nature. Humans are fundamentally social and relational creatures. We like being together and sharing things with one another, which allows us to thrive as a community. This inherent generosity is also supported by our DNA - seeing the joy in someone’s face as they receive a gift releases endorphins, making us feel happy.
FOR BOTH: Makes strong connections
Gifts are a great way to build and strengthen connections. Especially towards acquaintances or those we’re looking to impress, gifts can be used to express gratitude, make a good lasting impression, and reinforce your message through actions.
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Gift-giving is more than just buying an item to give to someone else, it also comes with benefits - for yourself and others - which keep us coming back for more.
Whether the gift is big or small, pricey or not, it doesn’t matter. As the saying goes - it’s the thought that counts.
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