For as long as we can remember, gift giving has been a long tradition, whether as an expression of love, appreciation of an accomplishment or just as a token of gratitude for friends and family.
But where did this unique form of expression originate? To find out, we’ll have to take a look back in time.
Origins of gift-giving
Exchanging gifts was a common practice even for members of primitive tribes. Seen as a symbol of one’s status, gifts were mainly given as a way of showing appreciation for someone’s contribution to an important achievement. Whether it was an unusually shaped rock, the tooth from an animal or other item from the nature, the act of giving was seen almost as a ritual.
Later, during the Egyptian era, gifts were mainly given to pharaohs and gods as a sign of gratitude and worship. Gifts were also believed to symbolise the wealth in afterlife, so tombs were usually filled with various objects made of Gold and other precious materials.
Today, the tradition of gift giving continues in Egypt. An etiquette tip would be not to gift someone flowers, since they are usually reserved for weddings or people who are ill.
In Roman times, people would gift each other small good luck tokens. The tokens were used as presents to carry favours and show allegiance and they lasted for centuries, influencing all Western civilization.
By the Medieval age, gifts were used to secure the personal favour of the king or show allegiance in times of war. Also, small gifts such as coins of precious metals, as well as herds of cattle, goats or sheep were given to young lovers, before marriage, a habit that still dates in some cultures.
One of the most convenient ways to express love is through a gift. If look back in time, there is a long history of the rich and famous using gifts to conquer the heart of their beloved ones. The ancient Hanging Garden of Babylon were supposedly a gift from King Nebuchadnezzar II to his wife, Amytis. In Russia, Count Gregory Orlov gave Catherine the Great a 198-carat diamond to win her heart back.
Gift Giving Today
Today gift giving is still part of our everyday culture and it plays an important role in defining who we are and what message we want to send with our gifts. Not to mention the beautiful feelings that occur when we give something to those we care about.
However, gift giving it’s by far not simple. Considering the amount of choices, it can be quite difficult to find that perfect something for your loved ones.
So, next time you think of buying a present, why not choose one that will last a lifetime and, perhaps even more important, bring someone the joy of a lifetime.