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Article: Perfect gift ideas? Here's the story

Idee regalo perfette? Ecco la storia

Perfect gift ideas? Here's the story

There are many traditions that characterize Christmas but one in particular distinguishes this long-awaited and widespread period: we are talking about the exchange of gifts . A practice that actually also concerns other occasions such as birthdays, births and weddings, just to name a few, but which in modern use mainly refers to the Christmas period; and if the opportunities are endless, there is certainly no shortage of facets that gifts take on from time to time: thus we find gifts and donations, while there are very few people present who give them, companies prefer to distribute Christmas gifts to their employees, the most classic of which it is certainly the gift, parcels and parcels are brought by Santa Claus and sometimes, as we know, a little thought is enough to make the recipient happy. To understand the importance and diffusion of this habit, just think that if we do a search on Google we will see 645,000,000 results for the word gift and 68,000,000 for the words Christmas gift .


 

Giving gifts is now a natural thing on every special occasion and it is an experience in which cultures from all over the world take part. But if any of us usually participate in this custom, not everyone knows the origins and history of this caring and affectionate tradition, which surprises adults and children in every country . The ancient tradition of gift-giving can be traced back to cavemen : it was an important part of their communities, particularly for establishing dominance, being respected, and creating a family. Tribal leaders often gave gifts to a person who had accomplished something great for their tribe; a sign of appreciation and recognition. But a gift also symbolized a man's ability to support and provide for his family, an attractive gesture for women...who would be given teeth and stones, at the time considered mementos that would be used for necklaces or the like so they could be shown to all members of the tribe with pride!



Instead, we can thank the ancient Egyptians for introducing the birthday gift . The day of a pharaoh's coronation was considered more important than the date of birth, and thus became the official birthday: it was in fact thought that on that occasion they would transform into gods and start a new life. The commemoration took place with jewels, ceremonies and parties. But the ancient Egyptians also used to bury gifts with the deceased, as they believed they would help them with their transition into the afterlife.



Religion instead marked the nature of the gift in ancient Greece . The Greeks believed that evil spirits would come to haunt a loved one on their birthday, so they would gather on the occasion to exchange greetings and gifts and prevent the spirits from appearing. Hence also the tradition of blowing out candles, a gesture aimed at sending a message to the gods to protect the person celebrating. But gifts in ancient Greece were also used to welcome passing travellers, in case they were actually deities in disguise.



The Emperors of Ancient Rome were equally accustomed to receiving gifts, particularly during the festive cycle of Saturnalia , dedicated to honoring the god Saturn between 17 and 23 December. At the time, these were lucky coins, figs, honey cakes, dates and much more.



During the Middle Ages valuable gifts were often food-based and were meant to be a symbol of power . If people wanted to gain political or religious favors, or simply show their loyalty to institutions, giving gifts was definitely the way to go. Books and manuscripts were also welcome gifts, especially since they were quite expensive to make. The gift of dowry also arose in the Middle Ages: a sum of money, property, livestock or other valuables given by a man to the father of his loved one, in exchange for his daughter's hand in marriage.



Instead, Native Americans celebrated the “ Potlatch ” on many different occasions such as births, deaths, and weddings, and the attention was always focused on the giver rather than the recipient . The ceremony was intended to affirm the status of a giver, with the offering of expensive gifts as a sign of wealth and power. The more expensive the gift, the richer and more powerful the individual would be considered. This made the gift very important to social hierarchies in Native American civilizations.



And finally we arrive at the most heartfelt of traditions: that of giving gifts at Christmas emerges from the religious story of Christmas. The gift is a reminder of the gifts the Three Wise Men gave to Jesus when he was born, which took the form of gold, frankincense and myrrh. But it is also a replica of the gift that God gave to humanity when he brought Jesus into the world.







In the modern era the gift, or present, has become a fundamental part of social life. While this exchange is as old as our history, the way we see and participate in gifts today only really began in the past century, when technological development and industrial production allowed us to offer an ever-wider range of gifts in a massive and convenient way. Today giving a gift means research, culture, tradition, technology, personalization and much more . From books to wine, from the latest technological inventions to travel. Giving gifts has become a crucial part of maintaining and strengthening relationships with those around us. Just think of the Statue of Liberty which represents an exchange of gifts between countries rather than individuals. In China all gifts must be wrapped in red envelopes, as the color red is known to represent wealth and prosperity. Diwali is the festival of light in India, which takes place over 5 days and is celebrated every year as the most important in the country: the triumph of good over evil is celebrated and gifts are exchanged with family and friends. In Russia, everyone who attends a child's birthday party receives a gift: a beautiful and generous tradition that makes every child feel welcomed and involved. The act of giving, as well as being hospitable, is also very important in Arab culture: it takes place in everyday life and not just for special occasions, making it customary to receive gifts on a multitude of occasions.


 

In essence, giving gifts is a way to express our gratitude to those who are important to us, sharing affection and sincere feelings towards the people we care deeply about , creating a closer relationship with those in our lives. And from specific studies it seems that the emotional benefit also reaches the person giving the gift, improving their mood. But although it is an ancient custom full of charm and stories, today the exchange of gifts, and especially Christmas, is increasingly turning into a business : a way of doing business, devoid of emotion and involvement; a model that reflects our increasingly frenetic and out of control society. All this is causing great damage to the environment and a more holistic look at our production and consumption behaviors is therefore necessary for a more sustainable and circular approach . We must rethink our economy, as we have been doing for a while at CASAGiN with our natural, ethical and sustainable clothing , with the aim of replacing the traditional and linear one to create a system of resource use in which natural, reduction, reuse and recycling of materials, resources and products. It would be good for both the environment and business.


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