The Greatest Gift

“The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.“
(Pierre Corneille)

The Lesson

Over a century ago, a short story signed by writer O. Henry (alias William Sydney Porter) revealed a moral lesson about gift-giving (although with a comic-irony twist end). The story portrays Jim and Della, a young couple living a modest life. Both wanted to offer a special gift to their partner for Christmas. Thus, Della sold her beautiful hair to buy a platinum chain for her husband’s pocket watch, while Jim, utterly unaware of her action, bought her a set of combs with the money received for selling his watch. Neither of them can use the gifts they’d gotten for each other, but that’s not the point of the story. 

The two characters have both succeeded in granting the ultimate gift: unconditional love for each other. That is the most valuable present which shows just how far each was willing to go for their beloved, to show their devotion.

Offering gifts is a significant component of our social life

A considerable part of human interaction relies on the way we give and what we give. In various cultures and societies throughout history, gift-giving was considered an essential art: gifts were granted according to social status, life events or particular occasions; they had to be presented in unique ways and offered according to the rules of each country or society. One gift that could have been spectacular in a particular culture might have been entirely wrong in a different part of the world. 

Even today, we try to find charming and original ways to offer gifts to the people we care about or to the ones we wish to impress. 

We love grand gestures, even if sometimes we fail to own up to that. We adore the surprise of receiving a gift in good style. We also feel amazing when creating a spectacular manner of surprising someone in the best possible way. In fact, psychological studies conclude that the joy and mental gain perceived by a gift-giver are even more substantial than the ones of the recipient. They also consider that gift-giving may have influenced evolution in human society, as men with generous budgets were able to charm, with expensive gifts, women with the highest reproductive chances. 

Taking a quick look at history, we learn about some of the most magnificent presents ever granted:

The famous Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to the United States of America in 1884. It took nine years to build, and it was shipped in pieces to the U.S., where it took another four months to reassemble. It is the most well-known symbol of freedom and democracy, to the whole world. The gold, pink and green varnish, diamond encrusted Faberge Egg was the choice of Tsar Nicholas II as a gift for his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna. The impressive Taj Mahal was built as a legacy honoring the memory of the beloved wife of Emperor Shah Jahan. After she passed away giving birth to their 14th child, he ordered the construction of a white marble temple which is now considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Egyptian queen Cleopatra got herself rolled up in a carpet sent as a gift to Roman Emperor Julius Caesar, to secure a meeting with him and employ his support in her battle to win the throne of Egypt.

In Greek mythology, Prometheus gave people the gift of fire, after stealing it from the supreme god, Zeus.

In modern times we also find some outstanding (even unconventional) gifts that time will remember. One, for instance, is the lottery ticket offered by police detective Cunningham to waitress Phyllis Penzo (a small tip which got her $3 million – the story inspired the 1994 film “It Could Happen to You”). Another gift-giving eccentricity belongs to the king of rock & roll, Elvis Presley: he used to give Cadillacs to his friends, family, to business partners, even to bodyguards or backup singers; there was at least one documented time when he offered one to a complete stranger. Singer Katy Perry offered her ex-husband a $200,000 trip to space with Virgin Galactic, while an ethnic makeup with a DNA test has become one of the most exciting gifts to give to people who would like to know where they come from – or who at least would be curious about that.

Love, affection, respect and so many other feelings can all be expressed by giving gifts.

Now you can do that by choosing the delivery of your gift in the future.

Surprise the people you care about with an unexpected present sent years ahead and meant to reach its destination at a specific time or occasion. It’s the ultimate gift: love and time altogether in a single, profound token. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “the only true gift is a portion of you.” 

Therefore, enjoy the benefits of a time capsule of emotions and let your feelings be part of a beautiful moment which will survive time and make hearts throb with joy and gratitude. The time capsule will deliver not just your gift into the future but also a part of you.

And that would be the greatest gift of all.

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