The gift has an explicit social use. There are many occasions and celebrations where the gift is one of the protagonists. But let’s see why we give and the types of gifts that can be given.
Gifts can have as many uses and meanings as one wants to give them. The gift has an instrumentalist purpose; for example, it establishes alliances, I give you, you give me.
Types of Gifts
- The appreciation gifts. We give for a favor done to us, for a service rendered to us, etc.
- Compensatory gifts. These are the gifts we give for “purging a guilt” or for some mistake made. When we have broken or spoiled something; when we think we have not behaved well with another person or with our partner, etc.
- Annoying gifts. Gifts that have a dual purpose and can be insulting for their ‘implicit’ message.
- Interested gifts. It is a way of trying to get something. Even if it’s only reciprocity. I give you on your birthday; you give me on mine. Or, I give you a gift to get a more ‘favorable’ treatment in certain situations or businesses.
Gifts can ‘say’ a lot of things about the person making them. Indeed the person who gives poetry books does not ‘convey’ the same as the person who offers a selection of sausages. Gifts can ‘identify’ or reveal clues about a person’s culture, background, etc.
There are many types of gifts
Whenever we think of gifts, we think of something material—a tangible gift. But there are many other types of gifts that are not material.
When a person ‘gives’ us their time, keeping us company if we are alone or sick; when a person gives us a caress or a gesture of support at a wrong time…
The expectation of gifts in exchange for what?
The gift can be a form of ‘control.’ For example, Christmas gifts. If you behave well, there are presents, if not you will run out of presents. In the business or professional field, you will get a useful gift if we sign a contract or come to an agreement.
You have to know if the gift is made with a particular purpose or only as a token of affection or simple appreciation gifts. If we make a gift expecting something in return, we can say that it is a gift ‘interested’ or boomerang, because we expect the same from the other party.
In a gift there are two essential things:
Intentionality. The purpose for which the gift is given.
The criterion. Appreciation gifts must be original and genuine. Choosing a gift is choosing for someone else, not for us. We must put love and empathy in it to not fall into a gift of simple commitment.
Gifts and children
Psychologists tell us that almost all gifts should be accepted, even if they are gifts that some parents may consider inappropriate. What you need to know is how to ‘rationalize’ them but not censor or ban them. There is violence in the world, wars, etc. They cannot be deprived of that reality.