There is no denying that the gesture of presenting gifts is one of the integral aspects of our lives. The essence of any special occasion is rightly upheld through gifts. Whether it’s our loved one’s birthday or paying tribute to the contribution of teachers on Teacher’s Day, any festive event or even congratulating your colleague on their achievement’s, gifts have a pivotal role to play in conveying the heartfelt wishes and love.
Today, the gesture of gifting is not restricted to special occasion, rather, it is considered as a benevolent gesture to say you care! Now, this evokes a inquisitiveness about the inception of the concept of gifting – when and how did the entire thing start and why it has evolved to become such an integral part of social diorama? Let us walk down the ‘history lane’ with an endeavor to find out the early trends in gifting and how it has changed over the years.
The act of Exchanging Gifts has been there long before the Old Testament, but we would start the voyage since the days of Ancient Rome. During those days, gifts were exchanged during the New Year celebrations. At first, these gifts were token and symbolic, which included a few branches from a sacred grove or food and precious spices were presented as gifts. Many of the gifts were in the form of vegetables and fruits in honor of the fertility deity, Strenia.
In Christianity, church leaders tried to ban the custom of exchanging gifts and pleasantries, but the practice was too popular among the masses that they could not overpower it. This made the Church leaders seek one way of legitimizing the practice within its doctrine and the justification was rightly found in the Magi’s – or Three Wise Men’s – act of bearing gifts to the infant Jesus. They also professed that Christ was a gift from God to the world, which added to the benevolent stature to the gesture of gifting.
It can be however, aptly said that the tradition of gifting owes much of its popularity to the Victorian era which was more similar to what is practiced today. Years later, Victorians the notion of exchanging gifts was re-incarnated by Victorians when they started exchanging gifts during Christmas as gesture of thanksgiving and wishing good fortune to the near and dear ones. Gifts thus became an expression of gratitude and kindness – a sentiment that attested the essence of festivities. Some years later, the notion of exchanging gifts leaped a step forward in form of Santa Claus – the ultimate gift bearer. It was matter of time when Santa became synonymous with the act of giving and receiving gifts.
Today, it’s not just Christmas that warrants the giving and receiving of gifts. We reside in a “Global Village” where the culture, values and norms have metamorphosed, living standards have improved, responsibilities and corporate duties have surged up. People spend more time in their office or in their business trips, subsequently, even the modest attempt at frequent socializing is deemed as a fiction. We witness how relationships drift apart because of time constraints and how expressions of love and kinesics have got confined within social networking websites and transfigured into instant messenger emoticons.
It is needless to state that we still cherish the moments spent with our family, siblings and friends and want them to know that they’re such integral part of our life. Even if we meet once in a blue moon, gifts enable us to convey our love and care on special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries or during the festivities.
As the world has become smaller and more connected, the geographical boundaries have been transcended with the aid of technology. The evolution of online gifting has changed the trend of stepping into the gift shop and choosing storming the brain to find the perfect gift. A myriad collection of gift can be sifted with couple of clicks of mouse! This dynamic shift of picking up gifts from the stores to sorting them out in the online portals have made it possible for us to send a gift to any part of the world, sands hassle. Essentially, we do not need any special occasion to send across a gift!
The thrill and excitement of receiving a gift parcel from the loved one is overwhelming and the delightful smile that adorns the face while unpacking the gift box is unfathomable! Sharing and caring always make a significant difference in our lives and gifts create memories unparalleled by conveying the truthful words of love and affection. The tradition of presenting gifts on any occasion creates a unique sense of excitement as recipients await the revelation of the treasure hidden inside a beautifully wrapped box.