The Origin and Psychology Behind Gift Giving

It’s that time of the year when people’s attention is focused on the holiday ritual of gift-giving. Shoppers are scurrying about looking for the right gift for the special people in their lives. Gift exchange is a major part of celebrating the holidays, but did you know the whole act of gift-giving can offer psychological benefits? Giving a gift is a universal way to show interest, appreciation, and gratitude, as well as strengthen bonds with others, sources say.

Origins of Gift Giving

The giving of gifts may be one of the oldest of human activities that pre-dates civilization and may go back to the origin of our species. Even in primitive cavemen culture, the giving of gifts was fairly common as it was used to show love and affection towards one another. The bestowing of gifts was also inferred as a status symbol when leaders of tribes or clans would show their appreciation for the contributions of those who were part of an important achievement.

Whether it was an unusually shaped rock, a tooth from an animal, the bark from a tree or some other item that was natural in origin, the giving of gifts was certainly common behavior long before we became an advanced civilization. As tools were developed, the gifts started to become more elaborate, for example holes were drilled into animal teeth and stones so they could be displayed on necklaces and many other objects were fashioned as well.

The Psychology Behind Gift Giving

The psychology of why gift giving is so rewarding is simple it allows people to connect. The giver of a gift expresses their feelings and emotions by sending a gift with the hope of being able to share these with the receiver of the gift. The receiver of the gift in turn receives the feelings and emotions and with this a connection is made. Making connections with people around us gives us a sense of purpose and feeling of satisfaction. This feeling is one that enlightens the soul and brings out the best in us. There is an old saying “it is better to give than receive” and it has a special meaning especially when the realization of the benefits that it provides to those who give.