Why Do People Give Gifts?

People give gifts because they want to express their emotions and show gratitude. It is a way of saying, “I love you.” Gifts could be expensive or simple, branded or local. Regardless of the choice of gift, it is the thought that really counts.

Branded gifts (מתנות ממותגות) are among the expensive gifts that one can give. But really, these branded gifts shouldn’t be seen by their price tags but for the thought behind them. It should always be seen as a thoughtful gift.

The Gift-Giving Culture

The gift-giving culture today has shifted to a more personal one. This is because people are more focused on what they need, rather than what they want. The gift-giving culture has become much more thoughtful and personal.

The shift in the gifting culture has been a result of the rise of social media, which has made people much more aware of their own needs and wants. It is now easier for them to share this information with others as well as keep track of their friends’ needs and wants.

The shift in the gifting culture also reflects the change in how we think about ourselves and our society at large. Today, people are much less concerned about what others think about them or their gifts, but instead focus on what they can do for others- be it through charity or just being a good friend.

But the gifting culture could change again in the future, as millennials and Gen Zers reach their prime years. The cultural shifts could become more pronounced as those generations enter more of a norm-setting phase in life and become leaders in politics, business, and education.

The reciprocity of gifts

This may seem like an outrageous gift, but gift-giving is as old as the road to Rome. People have been giving each other gifts for many years in order to build friendships and strengthen mutual bonds. But more importantly, gifts are given to get things done. Donations provide reciprocity – give something and you will receive it in return in service or favor. For example, employers give their employees a present at the turn of the year. This rewards the hard work of the entire year.

Holiday gifts

There is no reciprocity in giving a gift during a festive occasion. In the Netherlands and other Western countries, it is customary to give a gift at birth, communion, marriage, wedding anniversary, housewarming, or birthday. The gift then serves as an extra congratulation. If someone is sick or is in hospital, the sick person often receives flowers, fruit, or a stack of magazines as a gift. In addition, holidays can be a reason to surprise someone with a gift. Think, for example, of Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Easter, but also Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Sugar Feast.

Wrap gifts with wrapping paper

Gifts are often wrapped with wrapping paper. This keeps it a surprise for the recipient what kind of gift he or she will receive. In Norway, it is customary not to unwrap a gift immediately after receipt. In this way, one cannot insult the giver if the gift is not to his liking. In Switzerland, the gift is unwrapped very carefully, without tearing the paper. This way, the recipient does not want to appear too greedy.

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Determining the ideal gift

Gifts are given to friends, relatives, neighbors, colleagues, business associates, and clients. But what gift do you give? It is important to give the most suitable gift for the appropriate occasion, otherwise, you will be disappointed in the recipient. The following matters, among other things, determine the nature of the gift:

Recipient’s gender
Age of the recipient
Recipient’s interests
Declared wishes of the recipient
The bond between the giver and the receiver

If you are very close with the recipient, you can give him or her a personal gift, such as a city trip, photo book or theater performance. If the recipient is further away from you, you can give a general gift voucher or a bottle of wine. Please note: some gifts are taboo. In Suriname, for example, people look surprised when you give someone soap or shower foam. This suggests that the receiver does not smell fresh. In addition, make sure the gift to be given is proportionate to the occasion – never give too expensive a gift as this will embarrass the recipient.