Occasions to give gifts
Few things are as emotionally satisfying as giving and receiving a gift. I hate to imagine how the world would have been if occasions passed quietly without a chance of being appreciated by loved ones. Or minus the contentment one feels when surrounded by our dear ones as we surprise them with occasion themed presents.
Boring and dull!
Well, there’s always the odd chance that something would have cropped up to fill the vacuum but I don’t believe that anything can fully replace gifts.
Alright? Allow me to get a bit academic now..
What is a Gift?
A gift (or a present) is any item you give to someone without expecting payment or anything else for that matter in return.
An item cannot be a gift if the concerned item is at that moment owned by the intended recipient.
Ironically, even though gifts are meant to be totally free, we all know that gift giving commonly involves an expectation of reciprocity- even if it’s not inform of a return present.
The question of what the best gift for a certain occasion is always controversial. And sometimes, the gift-giving gesture can end up in embarrassment especially when the recipient dislikes whatever you have chosen for them.
That being said, the
Gifts are synonymous with occasions such as friends and relatives birthdays and the many typical holidays.
History of Gift-Giving
Interestingly, the practice of gift-giving is as old as the world can remember and pre-dates civilization.
Even during the primitive cavemen days, presentation of gifts was quite common and a serious event as far as showing love and affection was concerned.
It’s not clear which occasions the caveman had but history suggests that gift-giving was one of the climaxes during whatever ceremonies.
The only difference was the type of presents…
Then, people were content with things like unusually shaped rocks, animal tooth, and even the bark of some ‘magical’ trees.
Later, gifts became more elaborate as technology and tools advanced. Men would fashion some pieces of beauty like holes drilled in a certain pattern in stones and give them as gifts.
In Egypt, Idols and the historical pyramids were built and filled to the brim with treasures. And who were the recipients of these wonderful presents in the Arabic country?
The house the pharaohs!
Chosen gifts have since evolved and it’s no longer a question of gold, silver plus jewels. Even animals, which heavily featured at some point (and still do in some cultures) are not that valued these days.
Origin of giving gifts?
In modern American, the idea of merry-filled holiday season was born not so long ago- about two hundred years ago.
But, as I mentioned earlier on, gifts had been freely exchanged for an estimated hundreds of years between relatives, kings and their followers, and among communities.
However, Christmas trees, goodwill message cards, lights, and myriad other presents however first rose to prominence in New York around 19th-century.
Of course, gift giving is now big business with the commercialization having reached unprecedented scale in the last couple of years.
It’s now estimated that on average, every American spend $700+ on gifts and goodies per year.
The total spend is estimated to be a staggering $720.89 billion during Christmas only day!
(Why should we give gifts)?
What is the purpose of gift giving
Human beings are, first and foremost, social creatures so we enjoy each other’s companionship.
We also have feelings of mutual love (and sometimes hatred) meaning if given a chance, humans will always seek ways of expressing these feelings to each other.
And while there are other ways we do so, for example, kissing, giving of gifts is sometimes considered more profound and somewhat more impactful.
Whether to express our true love, appreciate an extremely well done job, or to show our gratefulness for having a person as a buddy, giving of gifts is part and parcel of our lives.
So, why are we so engrossed in the giving tradition?
Here are some prominent reasons why…
Relationships are like crops and other living things- they need to be tended to and nourished.
One way of doing this is spending quality time together. And carrying a gift with you as you head out to meet your pal shows you really care. And that you’re ready to go to any length to build and keep the friendship.
Of course, giving it unexpectedly (not during an occasion) make it even more sweet.
2. Making Loved Ones Feel Special
Our colleagues, relatives, and children will at one time or the other be observing milestone occasions like birthdays or wedding anniversaries.
People take advantage of these days to make their buddies feel special and show that they occupy a special place in their hearts.
Be it a bunch of roses, a birthday cake, or even essential oils, this simple gesture can have a quadruple effect on the special friendship bond.
3. To Appreciate People Who Have A Positive Influence In Our Lives
Mentors, parents, guardians, teachers, and religious leaders are some of the people who can have a life-changing effect on a person’s life.
It’s perfectly in order to show our happiness at having our lives cross path with these people and the positive impact.
Gifts to such angels show sincerity and best wishes to such a person. Chocolates, electronics, or even souvenirs elevate their happiness and inspire them to extend their good deeds to others.
4. Gift to ‘cut’ the distance
A thoughtful gift is taken to be a smart way of showing a friend who currently lives far from you (may be because of work) that you won’t allow the distance to harm your association.
So rather than just calling, people surprise these friends with lovely gifts as part of doing more than the communications’ lines allow.
The other person will tend to remember you fondly each time their see the amazing portrait (or whatever gift) you gave them.
5. To Mark Historical Happenings
There are some rare happenings which prompts celebration and the need to show the achieving friend that you’re happy with their being in the limelight.
For instance, a close family can win a leadership position when odds are heavily stacked against them. People close to such winners may feel indebted and may opt to mark the ground-breaking achievements through a gift.
The receiver will feel that they had people who were in this with them as they mark the beginning of yet another chapter in their lives.
New jobs and promotion also get people very excited and may deserve a gift. It’s not also uncommon to find friends acknowledging each other’s business success by sending gifts.
6. To Celebrate Marriage Anniversaries
A common way that married couples keep the fire burning is by remembering their marriage day.
Each partner tends to give a gift to their life partner as part of the anniversary celebrations.
To the couple, gift giving shows that they recognize the contribution their partners have made to make the marriage a success.
And it’s still another way of saying “well, I have never – not even in one moment- regretted choosing you”.
7. As A Means of Saying Sorry
Some give gifts as part of apologizing after a hurting a loved one. Indeed, I know of a friend who doesn’t take in ‘plain’ words after wronging them but will very quickly accept an apology after ‘bribing’ them with some rewards.
That explains why we have plenty of apology, I’m sorry, and forgive me cards on sale online and offline.
People also type own apologies and attach them as part of the note accompanying their gifts.
Some give gifts as a way of motivating recipients to pursue a certain course of action.
For example, parents can choose to motivate their kids to put in the work in school by rewarding good performances.
This way, kids feel super-motivated to maintain high grades and pass.
Some employers also take this route to induce better performances from staffs.
9. To Meet Customs
Custom is another most important reason because of a bevy of factors. Family bonds, sibling expectations, or even neighbors join you since traditionally the celebration has to be done.
It could also be that someone gave you some gifts last time and feel happy to ‘repay’.
Families could also be marking the transcendental age, for example, young boys/girls entering adulthood.
This also confirms a new identity for the receivers from infants, students, professionals/workers, retirees, bachelors, spouses and widows.
American gift-giving rituals, for example, graduations literally change one's identity.
10. To Feel Good (Charity)
Giving can be very satisfying emotionally and some give just to feel peaceful and satisfied from the act of giving.
Every other giver will tell you of the fulfillment associated with giving though philanthropists are the best example of the feel-good chasing group.
Here, gift giving becomes a wonderful and super-powerful tool to reconnect and share with the society.
It also shows that the giver has the best interests of the targets at heart and can help to offset a misfortune.
11. Spiritual Reasons
The beauty of spirituality is enhanced when we copy what the religious teachings tell us.
For instance, Christmas is never complete without giving and receiving gifts from those close to us.
And because gifts of such spiritual meaning, people feel pressured to find something perfect for everyone.
This cuts across all religions...Buddhism, Islam, and dozens of others.
Does The Size and value of The Gift matter?
Now, there is this common misconception that the bigger and more valuable a gift is, the bigger our appreciation and love.
But is it?
Well, admittedly, we’re humans and we are fond of comparing so it’s natural that some people feel this way.
But, it’s not always true that a bigger gift means more love and kindness. Rather, it’s what the heart feels and attitude that matter during the giving.
This means you can make a friend happy with just a simple gift and you don’t have to break the bank to impress.
We also know that people can reject gifts on the basis that they don’t come from the heart and are ‘hypocritical’.
For these reasons, we believe that people should worry more about being heartfelt and less about the price tag when buying gifts.
What does a gift represent?
A gift, even if small, is a powerful statement that you cherish someone. It is a high-impact gesture of kindness and love and can potentially make a huge difference in coexisting.
True, there are other acts of kindness, but a gift is unique in that it is enduring more than all the other actions combined.
It is one of the few physical things that can continue to evoke happy memories for years on end.
Why Gift giving is important
The action of giving typically benefits both the giving as well as the receiving person. Yes, we all know that we are supposed to give with pure hearts and full of joy and not expecting anything in return.
However, it’s an open secret that we frequently enjoy enormous positive and satisfactory feelings ourselves.
Thus, we have a chance of multiplying our own blessings by gifting.
Gift Giving Psychology
Gift-giving can be both beneficial and detrimental psychologically….
It’s A Wonderful Way To Express Interest:
As I had hinted, giving gifts is one universal way of showing interest in other parties be they potential lovers or people we want to make up with.
Because of the emotional perception, gifts you give can easily make a powerful statement of intent.
Can Trigger Feelings Of Resentment
A person can immediately feel resentment of the giver if they are of the opinion that the giver has under-spent on them.
Such recipient feel undervalued and cheated or may view the gift is dishonest.
Conversely, giving gifts can also overwhelm the giver with resentment if their gift is rejected.
Hunting For The Right Gift Can Be Stressful
Gift-giving is in most instances a de-stressor but the process of hunting for the right gift for family and friends can cause emotional stress.
On a similar note, the pricing of gifts and related expenses such as packaging and eventually delivering them is a potential financial burden.
How The Gift is Received depends On the Kind of Relationship
The feelings expressed after accessing the gift is dependent on the type of relationship between givers and recipients.
For this reason, it’s not easy to foretell the reaction to expect.
Gift Giving Can Bring Guilt
Gifts can also emanate feelings of guilt for the recipient when they feel that what has been spent is much more than they deserve.
This can have a negative impact on relationships as such parties may become uneasy when near the giver.
We already said the person who gives feels like a winner on the basis that they’ve helped.
Occasions to give gifts
Various cultures attach different meanings to gift-giving. The differences are even manifested within a culture itself with some assuming different patterns in gift-giving.
But despite the immense complexity around giving of gifts cross-culturally, gifts are very prominent during various occasions.
Here are some of the occasions when gifts suffice:
Throughout the history, gift-giving is an important part of believer’s connection to God and religion.
Starting with the revered spiritual gifts during the Pentecost, gift-giving culture is deeply entrenched in Christian families.
Subsequently, most Christians will give their fellow worship-mates various gifts during the plethora of Christian celebrations every year.
Still there, the Greek Orthodox Christians give diverse gifts to their family and friends variously with the iconic feast of Saint Basil being a day when gifts rain.
For Muslims, Eidi (gifts) are a must for among family and friends on epic days such as Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan) and several other important holidays like Eid al-Adha.
Coming to the American Jews, we have the Hanukkah gifts flying all over to close family and friends for 8 days and nights (the duration of the holiday).
Not to be left behind, Hindus give hefty gifts to their family and friends during the Diwali (Hindu’s festival of lights) and Pongal (the 4-day harvest festival).
In Buddhism, followers remember their family and friends through giving during Vesak (Buddha day).
Other religions also have their own ways of awarding gifts to people they cherish and similar celebrations.
I will now take you through the various gift cultures in various religions…
In Christianity, giving is throughout the year but it peaks during Christmas and Easter.
The Christmas gifts are tied to the famous story of the three wise men who welcomed baby Jesus with some precious gifts.
There’s also the legend of Santa Claus whose narrative rotates around the historical Greek Bishop Saint Nicholas, best known for his gift-giving passion.
Why we give gifts on Christmas
To many Christians, Christmas is a very special time and the best time to give/receive gifts.
Here is why:
- You celebrate the true spirit of Christmas: Just like God brought the gift of his son to mankind on this day, the faithful want to reciprocate by sharing with the less privileged, fellow Christians, and others- both within and without the church.
- You reconnect with Christ: There’s the joy that one feels in the heart when recalling the merciful act of God sending his son to save his children. You feel humble and refresh the bond between you and the savior, Christ.
- To share in the Glory: From being a gift to the sinful mankind, Christ rose to become a king like his father despite facing endless tribulations. Christians give as a way of remembering that this is where Christianity’s most triumphant journey started.
The gifts People Give on Christmas
Christians can learn a lot from the presents the wise men have to baby Jesus: Frankincense, Gold, and, of course, Myrrh aren’t cheap even by today’s lofty standards.
And so today people should not shy from spending on beautiful gift ideas like electronic gadgets for youth, lego sets for kids, kitchen gadgets form mums, and backpacks for college going youth.
In Europe, some leave the presents in shoes put out by their children. Some in Italy and the UK, however, follow the example of the USA where presents will be left in stockings (hanging by the fire place).
Across other countries, friends and family leave the gifts under the lovely Christmas trees, likely to be illuminating the celebration.
There are also events where families come together to share with the less privileged in the society.
Another milestone in the spiritual life of a Christian is Easter celebrations. It’s a monumental occasion as it’s during this time that we mark Jesus’s resurrection.
You are likely to notice a prevalence of Chocolate bunnies, flowing Easter dresses, and immaculate decorations in your favorite store.
On scheduling, Easter falls on different dates between 21st March and 25th April, depending on the presence of a full moon during Spring.
What are the traditions for Easter?
Many Christians spend time at the church in deep thought, prayers, and celebrations of Christ's life.
They may also join friends and families for special meals.
Other contemporary traditions to mark Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection include Easter eggs and Easter bunnies.
Church leaders originally disallowed eating eggs in the holy week (the week preceding Easter) and eggs laid during the seven days were stored.
They would later be decorated (to turn them into Holy Week eggs) and given to children as gifts.
This is now a major Easter tradition.
In old days, Easter feast was delivered in massive baskets to the church to receive blessings from priests.
This habit had been adopted from the ancient man who was known to bring his first seedlings to the temple for blessings.
Over time, this tradition took root so in addition to the Easter Bunnies, there’s dropping of baskets of fantastic treats around homes in the silence of the Easter nights to delight children.
Symbolically, rabbits meaning abundance among other things. Also, rabbits are traditionally associated with procreation and rich fertility.
Rabbits are also linked to changes in seasons and blossoming of new life, an event that happens during the resurrection Sunday.
But What Does The Easter Bunny Have To Do With Jesus?
The legend of Easter Bunnies can be traced back to the 17th Century when it’s said that German immigrants brought the story about egg-laying hare.
The bunny laid, decorated, and hid eggs as they were symbols of new life. The children would make nests for the creature to lay its prized colored eggs.
Today, these ‘Easter’s eggs’ accompany other gifts representing Christ’s resurrection (new life).
So, that’s what a rabbit has to do with Easter!
Where did chocolate Easter eggs originate?
Chocolate Easter eggs are thought to have been first made in Europe in the 19th Century to succeed a previous chocolate brand that wasn’t successfully molded.
Because of their cracking nature, some Christians have come to link Easter chocolate eggs with the mythical empty tomb of Christ (and resurrection).
Which other gifts can you give during Easter?
Other gifts that can make Easter fun as people rejoice over their redeemer resurrection include:
Personalized mugs, flowers, scented candles, personalized bracelets, beautiful cross necklace, personalized T-shirts, decorative items among others.
Handicrafts, home decors, antiques, and gift vouchers can also cheer up your friends during the season.
You can also spice up things by combining gifts together depending on his/her choice and pack them in a pretty gift hamper.
Dedications are a chance for Christian families to thank God for the gift of a new baby and to commit to raising a new child as per the biblical teachings and to follow the path of Christ.
I've attended a few baby dedication ceremonies and it’s slowly becoming the norm to carry a gift, as it's still a celebration.
Some churches practicing dedications make them more elaborate than others so gifts and the ceremony conduct vary.
Origin of baby dedication
The idea of Christian baby dedications comes from the famous story of Samuel and Hannah in the Bible. You see, Hannah was for many years infertile, and after fervently beseeching and pleading with God, she was finally blessed with a boy, Samuel.
Because of the overflowing joy, Hannah's responded by dedicating him to God.
Today Christians follow this example of godliness as per God's Word by taking their children to the altar.
The Role of Gifts during baby dedication
The beautiful cards, typically featuring encouraging Christianity verses are kept by parents as mementos of their toddler's special day.
For the givers, a gift shows that he/she cherishes their friend’s/relatives baby during the special occasion.
Gifts That Suffice During Baby Dedications
Card seems common but again, some go further and come bearing the type of gifts you would expect on christening ceremonies.
Godparents and grandparents may give cards with biblical messages or anything else with Christian teachings.
Dedication bracelets, personalized dedication picture frames, and personalized dedications ornaments are also common.
A Christian’s baby christening is yet another event calling for celebrations by everyone involved- God parents, siblings, and friends.
The occasion is commemorated with a variety of personalized baptism gifts including ceramic crosses, engraved photo frames, Children bibles, and more.
Meaning of Baptism
Baptism is a crucial rite of admission into the congregation (or adoption) and uses water just like what John the Baptist used to do.
The event is considered a holy sacrament and strengthens the recipient’s attachment to Jesus Christ.
Types of Baptism Gifts
The traditional choices for christenings have their history from the 19th and 20th centuries and include:
Antique silver spoons
These are now a common feature during this ceremony with the spoons being symbolic of bullish baby's health and wholesome growth through infancy.
Silver christening mugs
Christening mugs are typically engraved with the initials of the receiving child, a family crest, a monogram or the christening ceremony’s date.
- Silver napkin rings signify another spot being set aside at the family’s dinner table and can be also be thoughtful.
- Silver frames having a brilliant portrait picture of the newest family member could be another memorable way of reminding him/her of this important Christian event.
- Teethers and utensils can also be given as christening gifts along with eggcups.
- Some prefer to present full christening sets which may include a mixture of a napkin ring, spoon, bowl, knife, egg cup, fork and a christening mug.
What Is A Good Gift For A Christening?
It’s hard to vote one gift as being better. Celebrants, however, seem to favor giving Christian-related gifts as the idea is to inspire the kid to grow deeper into Christianity.
And because baptism only comes once in a Christian’s life, it feels good to fully exploit the opportunity to reward that special person with a memorable baptism gift.
One cannot also underestimate the potential influence of the correct Baptism gifts in Christianity growth.
Giving a gift that can truly touch their spiritual being could therefore leave a permanent mark on the baby’s life.
You can also surprise the little friend with other practical christening gifts like pleasant embroidered blankets, customized baby pillows, or angel dolls.
Christian ceremonies are treated as another opportunity to reconnect with God and invite his presence in the soon to follow marriage life.
For guests, there will be the lavish celebrations and ululation as they cheer up the marrying couple.
In most cases, the ceremony is never complete without a gift giving session.
Parents, relatives, other church members, and friends come bearing all kinds of gifts. Selfies also feature prominently during the gift presentation segment as everyone wants to keep a piece of the happy memory.
The priest or pastor will also emphasize on the importance of establishing a good relationship with God in the new couple’s marriage.
Why people give gifts during Christian marriages
A lot of people will want to give a memorable present as a way of having the couple remembering the D-day.
Others will want to give as one way of thanking the marrying partners for past assistance.
Yet others will feel obliged to give Biblical gifts in order to emphasize to the bride and bridegroom of the need to build an even stronger bond with God.
Still you may decorate your friend’s wedding be giving them a gift bearing a message of goodwill and wishes for a prosperous future.
Types Of gifts Given in Christian marriages
Shopping for gifts for religious couples depends on how the lovebirds relate with a guest.
For instance, fellow believers will want a gift that reinforces their faith in God.
The following items may hence feature highly in their shopping baskets:
- Christian-themed home decor items.
- Biblical calligraphy banners
- Christian inspired artworks.
- Love bible verses frame
- Wedding bibles.
There are so many exciting options.
Other Gifts Ideal For Christian Marriages
- Gift cards for evening upscale dining
- Mr. And Mrs. Coffee mugs/luggage tag sets.
- Together forever frames.
- Willow Tree's Together
- Soul mate glass blocks.
Christian Funeral Ceremonies
Biblically, death is glorious because it means the end of the painful life on earth and the start of the happy life-after in paradise.
And so in as much as the funeral is a sad occasion, people do still come with gifts.
But you have to understand that those close to your departed friend/family are still grieving and so you’ll need to be choosy not to give them something that evokes the painful memories of the passing on.
Gifts Idea For Funerals
The usual small gifts like cards, flowers, and small food items could be perfect. You may give these sorts of items to a dear member of the family as a pleasant gesture.
For those who prefer to give something bigger as part of expressing their sympathy, it could be better to delay a bit for the mourning period to subside.
You then get in touch with the family requesting to drop off your gift or personally visit.
- Sympathy bouquet.
- Gift certificates.
- Food gift baskets.
All in all, each gift the family receives in memory of the deceased has a unique meaning and speaks volumes of the love givers has for their late kin/buddy.
Giving gifts, in parties, celebrations, graduations or in birthdays of close family or others is commonplace among Muslims.
The perception is that the act of spreading out of the love for God to your kin, orphans, the poor, wayfarers, and to those who ask is very honorable.
Most Muslims also want to be steadfast in prayers while simultaneously practicing regular charity, both regarded as top acts of righteousness.
Origin of Gift Giving Among Muslims
The concept of Gift (Hiba) in Islamic law has been there since the very early days of the religion (sometimes between 610AD to 650AD).
Indeed, it is none other than Prophet Muhammad that recommended Muslims to be giving gifts.
And he himself set the perfect example as he was fond of accepting gifts and would reward people for the gesture of giving.
Why Muslims Are Passionate About Gift Giving
One of the Hadeeth (narration) allude that joyously accepting a gift and in return giving something of higher or equal value is the true way as taught by Prophet Muhammad.
Muslims also believe that with gifts, one joins in their delight of the brother/sister having the party and is very noble.
Plus, it's always nice to make someone know how much you value their companionship and that you have been thinking well of them by giving a small gift as a celebration of the friendship.
Gift-giving is also interpreted as a healthy practice as far as deepening relations between couples is concerned.
What Is The Best Time To Give Gifts To Your Muslim Colleague?
Any time during the holy month of Ramadan but after breaking the fast in the evening (Sunset) is traditionally the preferred gift-giving time for Muslim children.
The idea is to congratulate the young ones for holding on and not breaking the trying fast.
It is also ideal to give gifts for Eid-ul-Adha whose date, like the Ramadan keeps on changing each year because of the differences between the Hijr calender and the Gregorian calendar.
Interestingly, under Islamic Law, the giver’s religion is not relevant so you can even give a gift to your pal during Christmas even though they have nothing to do with Christianity.
You can even give gift belatedly to avoid confusion if you feel that the right moment has not come.
Further, a man can lawfully bestow his property as a gift to another after his death, of course, by will if the circumstances during his lifetime dictate.
Whatever the timing, the Hadeeth indicate that giving gifts could generate and/or increase love.
Gift Ideas For Muslims
Forget about everything else. The thing with gift giving among Muslims is that if the giver’s intention is to tighten the present bond, increase mutual respect between parties, and not violate any provisions of Islam, any gift- no matter the size or value- will be perfectly okay.
Actually the most important condition is that you must be sincere in giving- nothing less, nothing more.
Here are some suggestions:
- Necklaces like Ayat Al Kursi (protection) necklace.
- An app (for example, MyDuaa app to help him/her get closer to Allah).
- T-Shirts with Prayer messages.
- Islamic decorations (Ramadan, Eid, weddings, baby shower, graduation).
- Prayer beads.
- Islamic crystal Quran frame.
- Wall Art Pictures showing Hajj Pilgrimage to Mecca.
- Pocket prayer mats.
- Rings (for example, a Shahadah Band ring).
Buddhism is habitually associated with meditation, deep Zen quotes, and pacifism.
But for some reason, people often overlook one major aspect of Buddhism- the belief in generosity (Dana).
In reality, Buddhism final puzzle away from peace and mindfulness is generosity.
Origin of Generosity and Gifts Among Buddhists
Examples of humanitarian kindness and giving abound and show that the Buddhist community has always acted unselfishly in helping to alleviate suffering among people.
A good example is swathes of monks, nuns, and even lay-people establishing schools, hospitals, and such institutions in the old days as Buddhism spread.
Even today, Buddhists the world over are actively involved socially and most importantly, in humanitarian giving.
This has helped make Buddhism remain at the heart of social cohesion and caring for each other takes priority over everything else.
Justifying The Act Of Giving in Buddhism
You have to go back to the Buddha to understand the obsession with giving among the Buddhists.
First, to advance spiritually, the teachings are that an open hand and heart must be eminent in one’s living.
And that the tendency of taking must be reversed and replaced with generously giving according to one’s blessings.
Secondly, the aim of Buddhism is to enrich others’ lives through sympathy and to participate in their pains and not just pleasures.
These goals are achieved by giving as part of practically expressing this sympathy.
The Buddhist main concept in giving lies in Karma with Buddhists believing that what you give can never be lost.
The belief is that gifts instead return to a giver in various forms such as wealth.
Followers also practice Dana to help eradicate the attachment resulting from scarcity and separateness amongst those they care about.
And that’s why while giving, gifts are supposed to be first be shared with those who need them most.
Typical Gifts in Buddhism
So, what gifts does the Buddha dictate?
The ideal present is a pure gift, accompanied by pure intentions and to pure recipients.
It should also be a gift earned honestly.
Subsequently, gifts range from simple material ones (clothing, food, shelter) to types more demanding including education, personal time, and ultimately the most precious ones like fearlessness.
And as I have repeatedly mentioned, far more crucial than the gift itself is the intention plus the state of mind of the giver.
So you can include romantic presents, spiritually significant items like Buddha Statues and books, practical presents, and much more.
Even For Hindus, Dana is part and parcel of one’s Dharma (religion obligations).
Hinduism also teaches that each person has specific Dharma towards society, family, and the world as a whole.
This can be seen well from the wider context of the wealth one acquires.
You see, it’s traditionally for the overall welfare of the community and not for him/herself.
It therefore follows that Hinduism and closer religions like the previously discussed Buddhism have gifts at their core.
Hindu ceremonies where gifts are given
During this Hinduism worship (performed when shifting to a new house), waters and flowers will be offered to the deity. Guests eat offered meals and give gifts to the host family.
Diwali(October to November)
Perhaps the most popular festival, sweets, clothes, and butter are exchanged in plenty between family, close friends, and business partners.
Toys, candy, new clothes, and other children items are popular during kid’s birthday.
This celebrates love between brother and their sisters. Gifts including chocolate baskets, personalized coffee mugs, kitchen appliances, handbags, perfumes, and more may be given.
Hindu Baby Showers
Expecting mums are given jewelry, traditional Indian dresses (baby saris), and even cash.
This is another popular occasion.
Gifts and food items are again exchanged among buddies and siblings. It’s however more of a fun day and not religious.
Dana is also practiced in Hindu weddings. In one ritual, the father gives the daughter's hand to the groom after asking him (the groom) to swear that he will never, at any one time, abandon his quest for Dharma (morally upright and lawful life), kama (love), and Artha (wealth).
That said, money is the most revered wedding gift. Other acceptable gifts include decorative items, beautiful jewelry, and silver products.
What Hinduism Says about Giving
Various Hindu texts speak of the tenets of gift-giving:
- A gift should be given without expecting any appreciation or rewards from the recipient.
- Gifts given reluctantly and/or while expecting some advantage harms both the giver and recipients.
- Gifts should value the personal feelings of a recipient and should only be given at the right time so you shouldn’t give items that they abhor.
In Chinese religions, giving is not considered a special practice. But in the larger Confucian ethical teachings, benevolence and righteousness are foremost concepts.
And despite religion largely being frowned upon in the country, many worshipers take giving as a perfect virtue and an important component of humaneness.
Why The Chinese Give And Receive Gifts
Gifts are usually part of showing respect, love, hospitality, thankfulness, and more. They are also a common courtesy in the Chinese culture so it always pays to carry a surprise when visiting a Chinese friend.
Giving And Receiving Gifts In The Chinese Tradition
Native religions educate their followers that what matters is a proper attitude plus motivation and not the amount spent or the size of the present.
According to the traditions, one should, at the very least, give with maximum respect and avoid demeaning or making the recipient uneasy.
Gifts should also have been acquired morally and presented with a clear conscience.
When and What To Give Your Chinese Family Friend
In many Chinese societies, gifts will be given to mark holidays such as a birthday and a couple of traditional/religious gatherings.
Gifts can also be given at special events, for instance, when invited for dinner at your friend’s home and even business meeting.
It started with the Confucian doctrine where precious stones, costly cloth, and numerous other expensive gifts were offered to the highly ranking officials.
But unlike those days, gifts nowadays take many forms including specialty chocolates, good red wine, and fine tea (The Chinese love tea).
On the other hand, red envelopes are quite popular during the normally massive Chinese New Year celebrations and weddings.
Other tokens include flowers, rice cakes, and melon seed. At the same time, Oranges and tangerines signify wealth and prosperity and are also given.
Regular Gift Giving Days
1. New Year's Day
New Year celebrations are typically extraordinary globally and yet another day to pamper your friends, relatives, and loved ones with gifts.
It follows the age-old tradition of goodwill wishes as we embark on a brand new year with most gifts symbolizing prosperity, wealth, fertility, luck and everything that humans value.
How were the New Year Celebrations in the Days Of Yore?
Since the times of our forefathers, there has been something undoubtedly nostalgic about every New Year.
Some of them gave sacred plants on New Year's eve to encourage vitality, romance, and fertility during the coming year.
Others would give branches obtained from sacred trees the goddesses of luck.
The Romans would give special coins with impressions of gods on them or honey, cakes, nuts and such gifts that promoted good wishes for both wealth and luck.
The Purpose Of New Year Celebrations Gifts
New Year's Day is today a prime time to pass your hopes for prosperity in the New Year in an affectionate way.
Across various countries, the New Year Eve is marked at evening social events distributed in homes, hotels, religious locations, and public places.
It’s also common for people to spend New Year's Eve at beaches while dressed in white to invite good luck when the New Year rolls round.
Stunning fireworks and spectacular cheering in towns are the climax of the celebrations when the long-awaited midnight hour arrives.
Contemporary New Year Gifts
There’s no shortage of suitable presents for your circle of friends. You can uncork a bottle of fine champagne or even give pieces of Jewelry.
The idea is to make the occasion memorable for your close cronies by adding some personal touch to the festivities.
Personalized gifts such as key chains, t-shirts, pillows, clocks, and coffee mugs are thus some of the preferred options.
For corporates, leaders can help their workers start the New Year on a fresh footing by offering them stylish corporate gifts.
For instance, bosses can arrange for gifts hampers that includes many little but thoughtful products such as chocolates, diaries, calendars, wrist watches, and more.
Sending New Year greetings cards – even if online- to your clients also shows you care and can have a phenomenal impact on your business relationship.
2. Thanksgiving Day
Thanksgiving has been commemorated nationally since 1789. Though it was at first intermittent, it became mainstream during President Abraham Lincoln’s reign and it has since gone from strength to strength.
As a result, Thanksgiving Day (every 4th Thursday of November), Christmas and New Year day remain the milestones in the US annual holiday season.
Meaning Of Thanks Giving Day
Setting aside time as well as holding feasts to say thank you for one's blessings long predates communities in North America and it’s from here that the day has its roots.
By and large, the day takes the shape of religious observance and civil traditions after a triumphant growing season, business success, good health, safe journeys, peace, and good fortune.
What is the significance of Thanksgiving?
We celebrate Thanksgiving to give thanks. Maybe we had a bountiful harvest, promotion at work, business success, recovery from an illness, and for all good tidings during the preceding year
In many American and Canadian households, the Thanksgiving celebrations have lost much the original religious allure.
In its place, the day involves cooking and sharing delicious meals with family, neighbors, and friends.
Turkey is now a Thanksgiving staple and is synonymous with this annual holiday.
There are other foods that spice up the occasion including pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, bread stuffing, and mashed potatoes.
Other popular Thanksgiving Day activities are communal food drives and hosting of free dinners to remember the less fortunate.
Families also come together in massive parades and to watch American football.
Thanksgiving gift giving
Although Thanksgiving isn’t traditionally a gift giving holiday, people don’t visit their friends house empty handed.
Your host may love it if you can carry some food or drinks.
That’s where Thanksgiving desserts -pumpkin or pecan pies come in. But it’s not always that obvious since your neighbor could be awesome in the kitchen and won’t want to lose out on a chance to showcase their cooking prowess.
However, special food items including gourmet crackers or the varieties available at gourmet stores may be a welcome surprise.
Besides such foods, a simple heartfelt thank-you note works like a charm.
You can also consider personalized thanksgiving candles, wine totes, and hand-stamped serving utensils.
For the little ones, consider simple presents like pumpkin emoji lollipops.
3. The Fourth of July (Independence Day)
4th July, America's Independence Day is usually a day of gifts, flowers, and nationwide celebrations.
Whatever you do, the loads of festivities should bring good gesture plus luck. Now, Americans beautify the day with an abundance of sizzling gifts to those close to them.
4th of July Gift Ideas
In addition to the colorful and noisy fireworks, there are plenty of outdoor activities, family get-togethers, and cheerful festivities. Food and fun also flow right, left, and center.
Here are some ideas to liven up your colleagues:
- Flower bouquets (resembling American flag).
- Gift baskets (full of patriotic goodies).
- Blue, red, and white candles.
- American Flag Shirts
- Glow sticks /glow accessories for kids.
4. Valentine's Day
Celebrated in many countries across the planet, this is the day of love and a time to reaffirm true love between lovebirds.
And even though valentine seems to be exclusively for lovers, it didn’t start that way and was rather a day of expression affection for siblings, colleagues, and even bosses.
Still, in some cultures, Valentine Day is celebrated a bit differently. For example, in Japan, its women presenting gifts to men!
History Of Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is thought to have started in ancient Rome around 496 as either a Pagan festival or to celebrate fertility.
Other theories talk about the persecuted Saint Valentine who secretly married soldiers who were by then forbidden to marry by the reigning Emperor Claudius II (he feared they could lose their strength in battle).
The other group of scholars believed it originated in France where French lovers would start exchanging love letters (and go on holiday) as soon as bird’s mating season set in.
And even if there are more theories, the common theme is love.
Gift Giving During Valentine’s Day
Most people associate valentine with rose flowers but there’s more to flowers when celebrating love.
Cards, chocolates, and even electronic gadgets are nowadays part of the love party.
Overall, Valentine is colossal in terms of gifts. Just to highlight, conservative estimates indicate that over 600 million are exchanged on Valentine’s Day.
Bear in mind that the best Valentine's Day gifts depend on the type and level of your relationship. What you give when just start dating may thus not be ideal if you’re already engaged.
Valentines day gifts for her
Here are gifts to make your girlfriend/wife smile from ear to ear.
- Jeweler’s boxes: to hold her numerous trinkets and jewels.
- Personalized chocolates gift: a toothsome treat to savor while snuggled up together.
- Winter gloves.
- Hand-delivered bouquet
- A classic bangle.
- Statement earrings
- A fitbit: inspire her to the gym.
- Plush teddy bears.
- Stemless wine glass.
- A pretty water bottle.
Valentines day gift ideas for him
Here is how to sweep him off his feet..
- A brilliant wrist watch: An elegant timepiece to help keep time during dates.
- Personalized bottle opener
- Cupid shaped mug.
- Luxury shave set.
- Handmade champagne marshmallows
- Bathtub caddy
- A nice Swiss cologne.
- Love themed wall art.
- Sweetheart crossword book.
- A romantic picture frame.
In many cultural traditions, Halloween season is a time during which magic and spirits are at their most potent and seeking to contact and possibly harm the physical world.
It originates from the primaeval Celtic Samhain festival when Scottish people would wear costumes and lights to scare off ghosts.
Christianity adopted some of the Halloween’s rituals like people dressing up as saints and going door-to-door on the eve of All Saints' Day when the festivities are held.
Present Day Halloween
Halloween is still huge in America and people surprise their special ones with various tokens during the hauntingly fun celebrations.
The costume-wearing population also paints the nation ‘ghost-like’.
Halloween Gift Ideas
From Halloween cakes and sweets (for the ghost-busting youngsters) to ‘spirit-tasting’ bottles of wine, Halloween enthusiasts are spoilt for choice.
Here are some brilliant gift proposals:
- Witch's survival kit.
- Ghost stud earrings
- Halloween donut bouquets.
- Halloween trivia games
- Witch brooms.
- ‘Ghost’ candles
- Personalized halloween cracker boxes
- Chocolate skull lollipops
- Wine in ‘drink-up-witches' gift bags
- Skeleton hand soap bars
6. Mother’s day
On its part, Mother's Day is a unique celebration honoring our mothers and uplifting motherhood, strengthening maternal bonds, and glorifying the influence mothers have in the society.
It is observed on various days around the world, typically either in March or May each year.
Origin Of Mothers Day
The modern day mother’s day came to fruition as a result of one Ann Reeves Jarvis who in 1908 felt that the role of mothers in bringing up a forthright society was underappreciated.
Ann got the idea from her own mother who harbored a dream of seeing mothers better appreciated.
Her efforts officially bore fruits on May 9, 1914, when President Woodrow Wilson declared that our mothers needed to be celebrated and asked Americans to say “Thank you” to their mothers.
The day went down the annals of history as the inaugural Mother’s day.
Mothers Day Traditions
Traditions vary. Serving your mother breakfast in bed one of the classics but there are other sacred activities such as spending family time together.
Personally I like treating my mom to a relaxing spa trip and picnic with my elder brother.
Dinners, lunches and lively parties celebrating mom are also thrown throughout the ‘mothering’ week.
Gifts On Mothers Day
Whether it’s your wife, mother, or girlfriend, mothers love being showered with gifts at least for a moment.
Gifts to appreciate all the moms in your life during their special day again varies.
From beautiful, personalized jewelry for your woman to Chocolate Pizzas, there’s no shortage of thrilling gifts.
Here are some ideas:
Mother's Day Gifts For Your Girlfriend
Immortal Rose flower, a Mother's day necklace, cute wine glasses, cool water bottles, blankets/pillows, and even a cat mom mug could bring the warmth to her soul.
Mother's Day Gift Ideas For Your Mom
You can take her out for a sweet treat or decorate her day with beautiful blooms. You can alternatively choose between sparkling Jewelry, galvanized planter tubs, family milestones wall arts, motherhood pearl drop necklaces, travel manicure kits, relaxation gift sets, and more.
Why Every Mother Deserves Gifts Every Mothers Day
There are a gazillion reasons why mothers deserve the highest honor.
Of course, mothers suffer a lot during labor and birth. Then, bringing up children mean making big surprises (for example, leaving her job or studies).
There are also the societal expectations on a woman’s duties and role in healthy family relationships.
In short, motherhood is draining and full of emotionally-sapping experiences.
And so when you are matured enough, the least you can do is pat her back and say “Mom, well done!”
7. Father’s day
Despite not being as popular as mother’s day, this day is set aside to recognize the crucial roles fathers play in shepherding children and steering families to prosperity.
It’s an open secret that to provide for and lead households and the community at large requires hard work, resilience, and unyielding dedication, virtues found in our able fathers.
But like in motherhood, there’s a lot to give up on a personal level to bring success to the children and the larger family unit.
And that’s where fathers day comes in.
Origin Of Fathers Day
The day was first marked in the US state of Washington, way back in 1910.
Celebrations are held on diverse dates with the US, Britain, and South Africa celebrating fathers every third Sunday of June.
In Australia, fathers are honored during the first Sunday of September.
Again, it is said that a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd got the idea of rewarding fathers after listening to one Mother's Day sermon in 1909.
Fathers Day Traditions
The theme of the day is to give back to our dads (and father figures) and show our love for what they have done in bringing up their children.
Dads are allowed to sleep and savor their favorite breakfast on their big day.
Fathers can later go hiking, biking, and drinking in the evening depending on the country.
Prayers and spending the day at the races is also fashionable in some cultures.
Additionally, fathers expect gifts and cake.
Gift Ideas That Could Make Your Special Man's Day
Gifts are all about singing his praises, honoring him as the father to your children, and showing immense gratitude for his being there despite the challenges.
But ensure that you go for gifts that match his interests.
Here are some ideas for your husband or boyfriend on the auspicious day:
- A fitness tracker: For the health conscious boyfriend.
- Digital tape measure: for a DIY dad.
- Grilled steaks gift box
- Flask water bottle
- A masculine hunting knife.
- An echo dot
- A shaving kit
- Phone case.
- Personalized dad appreciating card.
- Waterproof portable Bluetooth speaker
A birthday signifies your beginning and is a first step towards a joyful life as you embark on the journey to fulfill your own unique mission in Earth.
For this reason, every human deserves the chance to celebrate thus momentous day. A birthday is also time to reflect not to mention give thanks for what you’ve achieved.
History Of Birthdays
The concept of remembering one’s date of birth actually comes from pagan traditions. It’s pagans who- believing that dark spirits lurked as one turned a year older- committed rituals to frighten the ghosts.
Rituals During Birthdays
Birthdays are time to sing “Happy birthday to you”, receiving gifts, and to feel the warmth of being surrounded by family and friends to toast to another year.
You can make your birthday more remarkable by doing extraordinary things like travelling to take dinner in a faraway country but that will depend on your work.
For kids, celebrations are the usual cakes, a lot of candy, candles, and random merry making.
What is the best gift for birthday?
Everyone deserves a fun day be it your baby, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, parent, colleague, or siblings.
Here are some exciting surprises:
- Write him/her a beautiful note… “Hope your birthday rocks!”
- Where possible, prepare a mouthwatering birthday breakfast for the celebrant.
- Fill their work stations with balloons.
- Bake them a yummy cake.
- Decorate the kid’s room with an unusual birthday theme.
- Write them a personalized letter/email letting them know how much you value them.
- Get her a gift that she has been craving for recently.
- Plan a surprise party in the backyard.
- Go hiking to the nearby trail.
- Arrange a surprise getaway
People get married as a result of love and feeling that they are better off sharing their life with their partner.
Communities, religions, relatives, and friends celebrate the occasion together with the marrying couple as it’s an important rite of passage.
Wedding ceremonies are, therefore, special events and people usually get together to share with the bride and bridegroom as they start new lives together.
As with other ceremonies, wedding traditions differ from one country to another. For example, the color of wedding costumes is not white in cultures as the color is associated with mourning.
Again, In other cultures, weddings are preceded by rituals like crying.
Why We Give Wedding Gifts
Wedding gifts came from the age-old practice of giving a dowry or bride price to a bride's family and has been happening since as early as 3,000 B.C.
Some of the prominent gifts then included land, money, animals, and precious metals so it was quite a staggering undertaking.
Friends give various gifts as a way of escorting their friends to their fresh life and wish them good fortune.
They also etch their names in the memories of the lovebirds by spoiling them during their biggest day.
Gift giving can therefore be seen as a form of free pass to participate in the happiness of the marrying friends
Wedding Gifts That Couple Love
Most guests start thinking about ideal gifts as soon as they accept the invitation to grace the wedding.
Some will give cash while others prefer tangible gifts as they last longer in the memory of the wedding partners.
In fact, pinpointing a limit when we come to wedding gifts is a pretty tough call. However, some are considered more thoughtful than others.
Here are some romantic wedding gift ideas:
- Love map wall arts
- A coffee maker/ ice cream maker
- Wine cooler
- Glamorous cooking sets
- An elegant candlestick
- A mixologist bar set
- A love frame plaque
- Anniversary journal
- Wedding clock (test of time)
- Happily ever after collection
10. Baby shower
The term baby shower is often taken to mean that an expectant mother will be "showered" with gifts.
The ceremony has a related custom named bridal shower from the 19th century where a bride-to-be would be showered with gifts.
Traditionally, baby showers were held only for the firstborns, and only women were invited. Change has not, however, spared the celebrations and it’s nowadays open to all children.
Traditions During Baby Showers
Regardless of the name given, baby showers are primarily gift-giving ceremonies in different cultures to show gratitude for successful a delivery or the expected child being born into prosperity.
In some cases, it also honors the transformation of women into motherhood.
Hence activities include gift-giving and occasionally playing themed games.
Gift ideas for baby shower
Guests carry varying gifts for the expecting mother and are usually accompanied by pampering treats.
Typical gifts connected to babies include blankets, diapers, baby bottles, toys, and clothes.
Your soon-to-be mom may also enjoy crib sheets, baby toothbrush, hospital survival kit, and changing mat.
Pacifier clips, wine for mommy, stroller organizers, and baby bundles also bring joy to the upcoming mommies.
A graduation party brings closure to various academic chapters of life and signals the start of a fresh slate.
Celebrations are in order for the grads achievement on a personal level while for friends and family, it’s time to enjoy another success story.
Graduation Party Rituals
Grads are just starting life from a blank slate and it’s both an exciting moment for finally attaining their goals and sometimes scary as one ponders on what’s ahead.
The event can thus take several angles.
On one hand, we toast to victory and on the other hand, we help the graduate seamlessly transition into the future.
Graduation Party Gifts
Giving the graduating individual a gift that’s useful in real life is awesome. Many graduates really appreciate items they'll actually use such as clothes, cash/check, or a laptop.
Souvenirs that help them recall their youthful college life are also appreciated as are other natural items including weekend bags, Echo dot, and a gym membership.
A wedding anniversary is a great way for couples to look back and reminisce about their special day.
It’s also a time to take stock of the up and downs of the marriage journey so far and also another opportunity to rejoice with friends, parents, siblings, and all.
Couples can also exploit the opportunity to take escape from routine and rekindle their romance.
Wedding Anniversary Rituals
The rituals are meant to keep the fire burning through thick and thin.
Activities such as having great conversations help to firm the connection and spending time on shared interests.
Inviting grown children, close relatives, and friends makes it a family affair and adds life to the event.
In any case, despite the turbulence's that are never lacking in marriages, conquering another year together calls for celebrations.
Anniversary Gift Ideas
Males search for gifts that enliven their wives while women buy items like cologne and socks for their men.
The couple’s children and family can also present personal gifts to make the celebrations more exciting like an anniversary themed cake and congratulation cards.
At the same time, most couples dislike generic gifts so be creative.
The day’s entertainment can include fun games and dancing plus speeches.
The cake can be cut at the conclusion.
13. Retirement Celebrations
It’s always thoughtful to bid colleagues calling time in their careers goodbye in an honorable way.
And is there a better way than organizing a retirement party where they become the chief guests?
Teams, bosses, family, and friends merge to throw a bash where the departing person is appreciated for their sacrifices during service.
This is also the moment to wish them good luck in their future endeavors.
What to Give During Retirement Parties
Organizers can investigate his/her interests and buy something in line with their likes/dislikes. Ideas can also come from family as they may be privy to his/her future plans. This can especially be very helpful as the retirees would very much love something to kickstart or facilitate their next undertaking.
14. Leadership Encounters
So what if you are meeting a leader and want to give them a present? Questions abound as to what would make them excited considering their position of affluence yet we very well know that you don’t want to show up empty-handed.
The same applies with royal families, for example, during a royal wedding and you are invited.
Well, it does seem that these personalities prefer unique gifts (not necessarily the most expensive) and readily welcome such gestures.
It can be a simple souvenir but the message and the spirit of giving makes a big impression on your heavyweight hosts.
15. Siblings Days
Held on April 10, Siblings Day honors the relationships among siblings. Sure, it’s not as famous as Mother's and Father's Day but it’s nevertheless significant for brothers and sisters as they come together to celebrate their bond.
Brothers and sisters send love, messages of forgiveness, and best wishes in form of gifts and shared activities.
Custom-made hometown map puzzles, an adorable trinket dish, twin phone cases, and nesting dolls could be pleasant gifts.
Funny t-shirts, sibling photo shoots, and even funny books (on brother and sisters living) can be also awesome.
Kwanzaa celebrations are held in the US and in the African diaspora community in the Americas. The celebration proclaims African heritage in the African-American culture and culminates in a feast and plenty of gift-giving.
What to Give For Kwanza
Traditional as well as contemporary gifts prevail. Examples include:
- Candle holders (Kinara): Candles signify unity, self-determination, work and responsibility, faith, and creativity.
- A quilt
- A Kwanzaa scrapbook.
Children can be give books or games.
Other Occasions You can Give Gifts
On an accident or disaster:
You can visit a friend/family with a gift after disasters like work accidents or hurting experiences such as a hurricane. The objective is to express solidarity and offer mutual aid to help such allies recover their standings.
When Someone Close Is Leaving On a Long Journey:
Student receives gifts upon making the grade in traditionally tough examinations in some cultures. The idea is to motivate them to continue pursuing the path to academic excellence without wavering.
We are all happy to show love by giving and receiving. Whether the roots are religious, historical, national, family-based, or cultural, gift-giving is a very noble gesture.
For others, giving is quite gratifying and attracts better relationships, intimacy, and can also be a bridge through which one can heal wounds.
Then, gifts also help enrich the holiday season and create a truly satisfying festive season as people share and rejoice as a family or communities.