Left Continue shopping
Your Order

You have no items in your cart

10% off your first order
Add CHRISTMAS10 when you checkout

01253 836594 - Mon - Fri, 10am - 4pm

The history behind gift-giving and why we do it

The reason behind gift-giving

Gift giving (and receiving) is something that many of us experience throughout the year whether this is at Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries or religious celebrations. 

But why do we do this and how did it become such a popular tradition with people joining in all over the world?

Why we do it

The primary reasons behind gift-giving are to express care, appreciation and thoughtfulness towards others. The act also helps to strengthen relationships, mark special occasions and brings joy and happiness for both the sender and recipient. 

Gifts serve as memorable, sentimental symbols of affection and gratitude which allow individuals to communicate their feelings and emotions in a meaningful way. 

Additionally, gift-giving can also promote social bonds, reciprocity, and generosity, fostering a sense of connection and goodwill within different communities and cultures.

Where did the tradition come from?

The history of gift giving dates back to ancient times and is deeply rooted in various cultures and traditions. Here are some examples of when it has been celebrated in the past:

Ancient civilizations: In civilizations like ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, gift giving was practised as a way to honour deities, demonstrate loyalty to rulers and mark significant events like births, marriages, and victories.

Religious significance: Many religious traditions emphasise the act of giving, such as the exchange of gifts during religious festivals like Christmas, Hanukkah, and Eid. These gifts symbolise blessings, love, and the spirit of sharing.

Social Status and Power: In medieval and Renaissance Europe, gift giving was often used as a means of displaying wealth, power, and social status. Elaborate gifts were exchanged among nobles and royalty to establish alliances and gain favour.

Colonial influence: The era of exploration and colonisation brought about the exchange of gifts between European explorers, settlers, and indigenous populations. This often served as a diplomatic gesture or an attempt to foster peaceful relations.

Modern commercialisation: In the 19th and 20th centuries, industrialization and the rise of consumer culture led to the commercialisation of gift giving. Holidays like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and birthdays became associated with the exchange of gifts, fuelled by marketing and advertising efforts.

Symbolic meanings: Gifts have taken on symbolic meanings in different contexts. For example, a wedding gift represents well wishes for the couple's future, while a graduation gift signifies recognition of achievement and the start of a new chapter.

Throughout history, gift giving has evolved, influenced by cultural, social, and economic factors. However, the underlying motives of expressing love, appreciation, and creating connections have remained consistent and are likely to carry on for many years to come.