Goodness, Gracious, Gift
Giving presents during the festive season has become such a synonymous part of Christmas, and as December rolls around again we’re busy buying, wrapping and giving presents and gifts. But why do we give gifts and what do presents mean?
Gift giving is as old as time itself. It’s an ancient tradition that stretches way, way back to our ancestors and forefathers, to the origin of our species even. By our nature we Human Beings are sociable creatures and the act of giving expresses so many things on so many levels. It’s a way to celebrate life, love and friendship, to express gratitude, to broker peace and is a thoughtful and affectionate tradition.
My dad’s birthday was in the run-up to the festive period, and with all the busy Christmas preparations that accompany December sometimes it was easy to overlook it. One year I was dashing around the shops and realised it was his birthday the next day, so thinking on my feet, and being in the shop that I was in, I put together a little box of delights – potted shrimps, cheese, chutney and smoked kippers – and delivered them the next day along with some of the leek pie I had made the day before. He was genuinely touched by my rather random and eclectic gift, he adored kippers, which he would often share with my daughter, and he graciously accepted the scruffy half a pie that I presented him with.
The act of giving can be so much more than what is being given. It’s the thoughtfulness, giving people things that they enjoy and will get enjoyment from, and that have meaning to them no matter how small (or scruffy). In that small moment when the gift is transferred from the giver to the receiver, when both parties are fully absorbed, is that why it’s called a present?