SPIRIT OF GIFTING
Gifts or Presents are items given from one person to another without the expectation of any sort of payment. Selflessly giving a present or/service to make others feel better. Giving gifts can help strengthen relationships and build bonds between families, friends, colleagues and even businesses. It’s often said that it’s the ‘Giver’ rather than the ‘Recipient’ who gains the most from giving presents. Giving a gift is a sure sign that you have been thinking about the person and the things they like and which make them happy. It is the random and unplanned action of surprise presents which can have the biggest impact to someone needing just a little bit of a boost, by letting them know they are being thought of.
Gifts can be used as a random act of kindness to cheer up, or celebrate with another person or group of people. Random surprise gifts can boost the spirits of whole departments or communities especially when spontaneous and unexpected – giving pleasure to one or many.
This selfless act can often be from the heartfelt wish to cheer someone who is perhaps having a tough time, going through hardship or simply having a bad day! Whether giving or receiving gifts it is important to remember that the spirit in which the gift is given is more important than the gift itself. Gifting can be an art to master the selecting, giving and respectfully acknowledging presents in today’s fast paced modern world. Parents can struggle to teach very young children to show appreciation for a gift which was not quite what they were hoping for.
When shopping for gifts it shouldn’t matter about price or size; the value of the gifts is beyond measure if it has been purchased with care/consideration/thoughtfulness and love!
HISTORY OF GIFTING
The history of gift giving is rooted in tradition, though the traditions from all around the world can vary greatly. Throughout human history there are well documented traditions of gift giving from all major cultures. In the western world it is thought that the origin of gift giving can be found in the Bible, when the three wise men bring presents to the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. Gifts are used to signify feelings of love and affection, of thanks and congratulations. The occasions on which you might give a gift are endless, ranging from Christmas and Birthdays to Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Anniversaries and Easter.
Today there are many reasons for considering others on special days and occasions by letting friends and family know you care by showing thoughtfulness, appreciation and affection. There are countless reasons people buy presents and each are personal to the giver and receiver of a gift. Other important family occasions when gifts are given are graduations, birth of a child, wedding, baby showers, anniversaries, retirement’s, baptism, passing driving test, passing exams, starting school leaving school, along with other important celebrated milestones.
The giving of presents on these occasions reinforces the bonds of family and friendship.
The physiological value of gifting has been well documented and recognized by psychologists, anthropologist, economists and marketers throughout history.
There is a simple psychology behind the act of giving gifts, and anyone who has ever experienced the expression of surprise and joy from someone when they receive an unexpected but thoughtful gift, will understand the excitement of giving. Whether you bought your gift on a budget or splashed out as a special treat, the look on another person’s face when they receive something they love is priceless.
Everyone at some time of their life has wanted to find the ‘perfect gift’ and has spent countless hours thinking and searching for something which is ‘just right’. These days it’s a lot easier to find just the right thing – you don’t have to trawl the high street shops as the expansion of the internet gives you access an almost endless choice of every type of gift you could imagine.
REASONS FOR GIFTING
When someone asks you the first present-giving holiday that comes to mind, a large majority of people in the western world would probably think of Christmas. Christmas is the big kahuna of the present giving occasion, a time of joy, colourful lights and an endless tide of generosity. Something about the Christmas season seems to encourage feelings of thanks and generosity. However on such a mammoth gift giving holiday; gift shopping is often easier said than done.
Gift hunting can be particularly difficult as the big day approaches and internet shopping can be a blessing as you browse online shops for gifts from the warmth and comfort of your own home without the stress and impulse purchasing of high street shopping. Online shopping has also allowed people who cannot easily access local shops perhaps due to remote areas or ill health to gain independence and surprise someone with a little surprise gift. Even better, those presents could arrive at your door already wrapped up!
Some would say Birthdays are even more important to the individual. That one day a year where time and gifts are dedicated to that one special person.
Being invited to parties and events as a guest it would be considered good manners to bring a small present for your hosts as a thank you and an acknowledgment of their hospitality. If you have ever been welcomed as a guest over night or for a meal, it’s generally accepted that you should send at the very least a hand-written thank you note – and it would be a thoughtful and appreciated gesture to send or bring a small gift as a token of appreciation for the time and effort the host has given to making you feel comfortable and welcome.
Perhaps the biggest effect of giving presents is on ourselves, as it strengthens our feelings towards the receiver and reinforces feelings of caring as our gifts would make the other person feel happy and appreciated.
WHAT TO CHOOSE?
It can be a daunting task selecting a gift for the person who seems to have it all! Chocolates, flowers, books, jewellery, music, gadgets, toys, socks? Homemade, handcrafted and personalised gifts are a fantastic way of showing how much you care by dedicating time and your own words into a gift – thinking about the person as its being crafted or as the special message is written – which heartfelt message or poem to write, what colours, materials, shapes etc would the person like, all shows your knowledge of the person and that you are willing to give up your time to invest it in a gift for them.
Retro Sweets can be something new and exciting, or a blast from the past that can whisk you back to fond memories of your childhood. So many people connect through their favourite foods and one of the most popular foods are sweets and chocolates, be they current or retro! The nostalgic rush you can get from simply popping an old favourite into your mouth can’t be matched. Many retro sweets and chocolates are no longer stocked in locally in shops so the easiest places you can find them are in specialist sweet stores or online. The majority of adults have heard at least one exclamation of “20p for a Freddo! Well, back in my day…” or “Remember penny chews?”
While sweets are most certainly very popular and a firm favourite, sometimes it’s nice to give a gift which can be treasured forever! One of the most popular and traditional gifts are soft toys and in particular Teddy Bears! Large or small, traditional or modern Teddy Bears give some of the best hugs and are a timeless favourite with young and old, male and female. Of course there are a huge number of other popular soft toys available to suit all tastes from soft Rabbits, to roaring Lions and cheeky Monkeys.
Family Pets are normally included in the giving and receiving of gifts throughout the year. Whether at Christmas, Birthdays, Get Well or just a special treat; giving presents can brighten up yours and your pet’s day. Loving pet owners spend just as much time and effort surprising and treating their pets. If giving gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling, you’ll barely need an excuse to treat a pet which has cheered you up on countless occasions.
Gift giving is one of the most rewarding things you can do; it makes you happy and it makes the recipient happy.
It’s not always easy to find the ‘perfect’ present. Sometimes, every item seems almost perfect, but something isn’t quite right. A lot of the time the key to success in gift giving can be the personalisation of the item. Including a personalised message can be the added extra to make a gift feel more personal and heartfelt. These days, it’s possible to personalise a card without making it by yourself, to personalise jewellery and home decoration when you don’t have a smidgen of creative know-how. Online shopping for gifts can make adding personalised messages from the comfort of your own home quick and easy. Online shopping has enabled us to access an amazing array of wonderful gifts at the touch of a button. Browsing online, selecting the perfect present, personalising it with names, messages and having it delivered straight to the recipient has opened up a mind blowing array of opportunities to give presents – even to loved ones and the people special to us who are hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
In practical terms covering the gift in some way protects the gifts inside; however the wrapping of presents also enhances the feeling of excitement, builds suspense and can act as a delay in spoiling the big surprise! Wrappings can be used to build a sense of occasion; to make it extra special which is particularly true if time and effort has been used to decorate the presents with ribbons, bows or decorated box. In some cultures gifts of money are often traditionally wrapped in decorative envelopes and gift cards.
The tradition of wrapping is particularly common in western society where presents are covered in wrapping paper and often accompanied by a name tag and small message card. Message cards will carry the name of the personal along with a sentiment eg Thank You, Happy Birthday, Congratulations, Get Well Soon etc along with the givers name.
Today many people will use recycled material for wrapping either with recycled paper, fabric or other materials to decorate the gift. It is thought that Green gifting started with the concept of people recycling the wrapping from presents and has grown into a concept of re-gifting, to lower the impact on the planet.
The main features of green gifting are:
Re-gifting is where a never used/ unwanted present is given to another.
Recycling wrapping, packing, paper, bows, bags boxes.
Environmentally friendly packaging and wrapping e.g. by using newspaper or cloth.
Homemade, home crafted presents such as decorations, baking art.
Charity based giving e.g. animal sponsorship, zoo/museum memberships
Although Corporate Gifts are given throughout the year, the majority of corporate gift giving is still done over the festive period to show appreciation and reward Employees, Clients and Suppliers. Corporate gifts are often given on the completion of a deal or to acknowledge hard work, loyalty and success. Large multinationals and sole traders acknowledge the importance in corporate gifts to celebrate and encourage and give thanks. Traditionally corporate gifts would perhaps be a pen or a watch, however businesses are now more than ever looking for something a little different to impress and surprise.
Companies often give gifts to show appreciation to their customers sometimes it is free other times it is in the form of limited editions, discounts and special offers. Businesses also give out gifts to their employees and staff as a token of appreciation for hard work or contributions, promotions or achievements.
Often giving gifts to charities and causes which are important to us – giving to less fortunate is a fabulous way of spreading our good fortune around and perhaps bringing a smile to the faces of the less fortunate. Whether it’s the gift of time, or a donation of money, toys or food it’s a
Gift giving can also be a way of promoting your business or charity