Gift-giving is one of the most ancient human practices that go all the way back to the beginnings of humankind. Even among the cavemen, the Gift Giving All Wrapped Up was popularly done to express affection towards one another. The act was also viewed as a status symbol when clan or tribe leaders recognized the efforts of those who worked behind important achievements.
An animal tooth, a a uniquely shaped rock, or any object of natural origin - these were the types of gifts that were given long before we reached civilization. As tools were created, the gifts began to become fancier, such as stones and animal teeth drilled with holes, allowing them to be displayed on necklaces.
In the Egyptian times, gifts were most prominently given to pharaohs, who constructed enormous pyramids to secure their wealth beyond their earthly lives. During the Roman era, people gifted one other with good luck tokens, a custom that endured for centuries and ended up influencing Western culture eventually. These tokens of good luck were given to carry favors and show loyalty, which is still mostly true nowadays.
By the Medieval age, gifts were given to win the king's personal favor or to demonstrate allegiance in war times. As well, personal betroth gifts were given as dowries, which were usually precious metals, coins or animals. In several cultures, the practice of giving dowries is still very much alive.
Today, gift giving is still a big part of our day-to-day lives, even defining who we are and what we want to say with our gift. We give gifts to celebrate special occasions, such as birthdays and anniversaries, and sometimes even on any ordinary day. The act allows us to communicate with people we value or to simply express ourselves.
So why is this culture very much alive and why did those before us invent it? The answer is simple - it is a highly rewarding practice in that it gives people a special opportunity to connect each time. The gift giver expresses their feelings through a gift, hoping to send a message to the receiver. In turn, the receiver of the gift gets the message, and a connection is made.
When we connect with those around us, we have a greater sense of purpose and feel more satisfied with our lives. In other words, when we give gifts, both we and the receivers of our gifts are benefited, albeit not necessarily in material ways. In fact, non-material gifts are often more valuable and memorable.
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