Understanding The Psychology Of Gifting

Every birthday, anniversary, Christmas and special occasion, we carefully choose and offer gifts to our loved ones. It is something we do naturally and most of us do not think about its deeper implications. Yet, the gift we choose and the way we present it says so much about us, our relationships, and the complex social structures within our community. Behind every surprise gift box lie social, psychological and emotional currents.

During the Middle Ages, gift exchanges played a significant role in social interactions. Gifting offered a meaningful way for people to foster social bonds, or show allegiances to powerful people and institutions, such as the king or church. Dowries are a prominent example of medieval gift giving that was designed to promote relationships. Involving the father of the bride presenting lavish gifts to the groom in return for marrying and taking care of his daughter, these engagement gifts included land, money, livestock or precious metals.

As gifting plays such an important role in our social fabric, we give gifts for many, sometimes conflicting, reasons. At times our culture necessitates it, for instance Christmas or birthday presents. At other times, it builds and reinforces relationships with family members and potential mates, and can be done for a variety of reasons.

  • A way of showing love and devotion

In one way or another, gifts are used to symbolize love and devotion between two partners, coinciding with the theory of ‘symbolic interactionism’, which argues that people communicate through the use of symbols. For instance, what type of gift boxes for women do men buy when trying to express love or devotion? The go-to trends to be flowers and chocolates since they can be interpreted to symbolise feelings of love with their fragrant beauty.

  • To build and reinforce associations

We often give gifts to re-confirm or establish our connection with others, which means that they are a reflection of both the giver and the receiver, as well as their unique relationship. Giving a gift to someone we care about allows us to communicate our feelings and appreciation for them. In fact, some sociologists think that we only give gifts to the ones we would like relationships with.

  • Symbolic communication

Have you been given a gift that has filled you with joy? Or perhaps you have been unlucky enough to receive something that left you feeling deflated and upset since it did not meet your expectations. But why would this irritate you? It is the thought that counts and that is precisely it. When you look deeper into the matter, it is for the reason that we attach symbolic meaning to gifts. This means that a gift you are not overly enamoured with can be interpreted as thoughtless in spite of its altruistic motives.

Finding the perfect gift can be challenging, particularly if you would like to be original or do not know the receiver very well. Thankfully, there are a few basic hacks you can follow to find something appealing, whoever your receiver may be. For the best custom gift bags, check out The Housewarming Project!

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