It's just a way of life. With birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, religious celebrations, housewarmings, births and just about any other special occasion you can think of - comes gifting. The giving of presents from one person to another, a show of kindness and affection that humans have been doing since the caveman days.
It's something we just take as a given - but have you ever thought about why? What is it about this tradition that has made it such a firm fixture in our culture?
Gifting is selfless on a surface level - after all, what's more selfless than giving to others without expecting anything in return?
Though it turns out, there are huge emotional benefits that come with giving gifts to others.
To put it simply - giving someone else a present makes us feel good! If you're a pet owner, think about the gifts you've bought for your favourite animal - knowing they can't pop to the store to get you anything in return. And think about how good it felt to bring some extra joy to your furry friend's life!
It's the same with human to human gifting - and the emotional benefits go both ways. The person being gifted also feels good about themselves and your relationship - making it a win-win.
Have you ever come back from a holiday with souvenirs for your co-workers, or baked a sweet treat for your neighbours?
Gift-giving is one of the best ways to build relationships, which is another reason why we do it. Whether you're gifting an acquaintance or a family member you know inside out, the act of giving a gift shows the recipient you value the relationship which helps to solidify a positive bond.
This is why it can sometimes feel awkward to be the 'Scrooge' that's opting out of the office Secret Santa. Gifting helps us all to feel closer and show our appreciation for one another.
It also helps us to make an effort to get to know people better - I would always ask around and try to find out as much information as I can about someone I don't know well if I'm buying them a gift, to minimise the chance of getting them something they hate!
It's a chain reaction
Gift-giving is contagious. When people see others giving and receiving gifts - they want to get in on the action! As everyone scrambles to feel those emotional benefits we spoke about earlier, there's a chain reaction. This knowledge also encourages you to go out of your way - I can't tell you how many times I've been running late for something but still stopped to grab a bottle of wine or some chocolate as I didn't want to 'turn up empty-handed'!