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Three Reasons To Engage In Gift Giving

The gifts and gift giving help shape our identities. Those so-called useless possessions may have literally made us who we are in at least three ways.

First, gift giving can confirm a new identity.

Everyone changes social identities. Over the course of our lives, we pass through the roles of infant, student, professional/worker, retiree, bachelor, spouse and widow. At each transition, we experience what anthropologists call a liminal state. This liminal state is most familiar to those in a serious romantic relationship. Perhaps you have talked about getting married but aren’t yet engaged. Instead, you are hanging in limbo, waiting for something to push you back toward singlehood or onward toward engagement.

The ritual of the gift changes your identity by forcing society to acknowledge the transformed you and literally gift you a new way of being treated. Without the ritual of the gift, you won’t have a clear social identity accepted and confirmed by members of the community, and then you get stuck. You cannot function well in your new role because that role hasn’t been sanctioned in your community. However, you also can’t revert to your old role. The ambiguity can be debilitating. But gift giving can end the suffering.

The ceremony of gift giving can push people through the awkwardness of the threshold into a new role. Gifts also strengthen the bonds between people. We all have a longing to be known, understood and loved by our community. The best gifts meet that need.

Obviously, the most liquid gift is cash, but any practice that turns gift giving into a mere exchange misses the purpose of giving. A third use of gifts is to help direct the future of someone in your community. A gift is something I give you because I know you will love and enjoy it. A present is something I give you because I want you to have it.

These presents carry with them a great deal of love. They have the ability to communicate. It is the love of connecting myself and my future with you and yours. The beauty of community is in these connections, offering advice and direction. Within a thriving community, ordinary gifts like these are given every day. Parents provide for their children. Friends share their time and affection. What is true about gift giving at Christmas also applies every day.

Perhaps it is because gifts can be filled with such spiritual meaning that we feel pressured at holidays to find the perfect gift. We know our efforts will fall short of expressing our love and concern. Then we become fearful of acknowledging the power of our gift, and we swing the other direction to minimalism.

But our efforts to love people should not be dismissed as consumer commercialism. Gift giving is a wonderful and powerful tool our society would do well to relearn how to use and appreciate.


原文見: Three Reasons To Engage In Gift Giving | SourceEC - Corporate Gifts Malaysia | Promotional Gifts | Door Gifts Blog
Three Reasons To Engage In Gift Giving Reviewed by Unknown on 9:30 AM Rating: 5

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