Gifts are a traditional part of Christmas – but why do we give presents at all? - Deepstash

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Gifts are a traditional part of Christmas – but why do we give presents at all?

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/dec/22/the-gift-social-world-xmas-marcel-mauss

theguardian.com

Gifts are a traditional part of Christmas – but why do we give presents at all?
The Gift, written by Marcel Mauss in 1925, explores why we exchange things and the social rules we follow – and helps explain why gift-giving can be so fraught with worry

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The Psychology Of Exchanging Gifts

The Psychology Of Exchanging Gifts

According to French anthropologist Marcel Mauss, gift-giving carries many legal, moral, economical and spiritual aspects, and is significant for the whole social fabric. Many ancient cultures follow the intricate rules of gift exchange, which is not a voluntary act, but rather a comprehensive set of rules based on obligation and formality.

If a person does not take part in this obligatory ritual, he or she risks losing respect, moral authority and even wealth.

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Social Behaviour: The Gifting Protocol

The Gift protocol is a non-voluntary strategy to affirm and strengthen the moral bonds of society.

It is a competitive, formal game that diminishes the pure value of gifts and makes it into a set of rules.

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The Rules Of Social Gift Exchange

  1. Gift-giving is a moral act, with social consequences if done incorrectly. If one signals that he or she is not doing the ‘presents’ thing, the person is then banished from this formality.
  2. Receiving shoddy gifts with a warm 'thank you' is a part of the ritual based on pretentiousness and social deception.
  3. Wrapping and personalization of gifts matter, that is why cheques or vouchers feel cold.

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Remember what’s essential about holidays

Do you care deeply about your religion? Do you care most about spending time with your loved ones? Maybe certain traditions matter tremendously to you. Maybe you love the feeling of giving (of which, ...

Start to let go of the non-essential

Talk to others about letting go of the traditions you don’t like. Yes, letting go can feel painful at times, but think of the downsides of the things you’re letting go. Think of the simplicity you’re creating. And feel the relief of relaxing around letting go.

Let’s let go of the myth that you have to spend to give:

  • Gift your family with some small experiences, such as caroling, baking, watching It’s a Wonderful Life;
  • Volunteer as a family at a homeless shelter.
  • Make meaningful gifts. A video of memories. A scrapbook.
  • Bake gifts.
  • Have an experience instead of giving material goods: do something fun together, go to the beach or a lake.
  • Give the gift of your expertise. Are you good at fixing cars? Teaching music? Teaching cooking? Magic tricks? Help or teach someone something you’re good at.