16 Jul The Power of Gift Giving
Giving gifts is an action that helps us shape our identity. Gifts strengthen the bonds between people and may help direct the future of someone. If done correctly, gifts work like nothing else – and we all have, for sure, many examples of situations when a gift changed everything!
Accepting a gift creates a special bond between the giver and the receiver of that gift. The connection thus established brings a new equilibrium in a relationship. The vital detail for such magic to happen is that the gift must be freely and gladly accepted.
Giving a gift makes all parties involved feel good. The person giving (sending) the gift experiences the thrill of anticipating the reaction of the one receiving the gift. The one getting the gift will experience the surprise and the joy of receiving something maybe useful, maybe symbolic, but worth keeping.
Throughout our lives, we pass through various roles, such as infant, child, student, professional/worker, retiree, bachelor, spouse, or widow. With each transition, we experience what anthropologists call “a liminal state.” The rituals involving the passing from one state to another revolve around giving and receiving gifts – such as birthdays, graduations, weddings, etc.
But more important than the symbolism of giving gifts is the ability to find the perfect gift to send the right message – of love, appreciation, understanding, unconditional friendship, and support, or whatever you would like it to say.
Gift or Present
There is, though, a clear difference between a gift and a present. As Forbes puts it, “a gift is something I give to you because I know you will love and enjoy it. A present is something I give to you because I want you to have it”. That is why sometimes our presents reflect the way we see someone or how we’d hope them to be or become – for instance, giving exercise equipment to someone who is clearly out of shape.
Such presents carry a great deal of love with them. The message they send says that we care so much about the receiver and their future that we struggled to find the right gift to shape their journey through life. Gift giving is a beautiful and powerful tool our society would do well to relearn how to use and appreciate.
The best way to make sure that your gift to someone you care for will never be obliterated is to give them something unexpected and impossible to forget. Think big and don’t be afraid of significant gestures!
Here’s a quick look through the history of the most amazing gifts ever documented:
The Statue of Liberty
Designed by Frederic Bartholdi, the 305-foot-tall neoclassical statue took nine years to build, and it was shipped to the U.S. in pieces, where it took another four months to reassemble. It is the universal symbol of freedom and democracy, and it was a gift of friendship given to the United States in 1884 from France.
Baseball legend Joe DiMaggio sent “six fresh, long-stemmed red roses, three times a week…forever,” to the love of his life, Marilyn Monroe, after her passing away. The flowers were ordered at L.A.’s Parisian Florist with specific instructions to be delivered to Marilyn crypt. Still, in 1982, 20 years after starting to send the roses, DiMaggio canceled the contract. But Marilyn’s admirers continue the tribute, ordering flowers from the same Parisian Florist.
The Most Famous Egg in the World
In 1907, Tsar Nicholas II gave his wife Alexandra Feodorovna an exquisite Faberge egg to commemorate the birth of their son, Alexei Nikolayevich, three years earlier. The fabulous egg was made of gold, pink and green enamel and encrusted with diamonds. The gift was a surprise for everyone, not only the Tsarina since for two years no Imperial Easter eggs had been produced due to the Russo-Japanese War.
A Million Dollars Tip
The police detective Robert Cunningham used to hang out at Sal’s Pizzeria in New York City. One day in 1984, he offered to buy waitress Phyllis Penzo a lottery ticket as he didn’t have money for tipping her. They each picked three numbers. The ticket brought them a jackpot of 3 million dollars and both fetched half the winning amount. Their story inspired the 1994 film “It Could Happen to You” with Nicolas Cage and Bridget Fonda.
But the list of famous gift examples doesn’t stop here. For instance, some people think that one of the greatest gifts in history is fire. According to Greek mythology, we can thank the god Prometheus for that gift. Mythology says he stole the fire from Zeus to give it to humans, along with writing, mathematics, agriculture, and medicine.
Sending Letters can be just as valuable
Sometimes pure and unconditioned love is the greatest gift of all. You can easily express it in a letter if your gift is a statement of your emotions, or if wisdom is what you wold like to gift. That letter would add up all your love and affection, even if it were delivered in the future.
Sending a gift to the future
If you do find the perfect gift, make sure you add another element of surprise to it: try sending it to the future, which will surely enhance the joy and wonderment of the person receiving it years from now.