Gift
Overview
A gift or a present is the transfer of something without the expectation of receiving something in return. Although gift-giving might involve an expectation of reciprocity, a gift is meant to be free. In many human societies, the act of mutually exchanging money
Money
Money is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given country or socio-economic context. The main functions of money are distinguished as: a medium of exchange; a unit of account; a store of value; and, occasionally in the past,...

, goods
Property
Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation...

, etc. may contribute to social cohesion. Economists have elaborated the economics
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

 of gift-giving into the notion of a gift economy
Gift economy
In the social sciences, a gift economy is a society where valuable goods and services are regularly given without any explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards . Ideally, simultaneous or recurring giving serves to circulate and redistribute valuables within the community...

. By extension the term gift can refer to anything that makes the other happier
Happiness
Happiness is a mental state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. A variety of biological, psychological, religious, and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources....

 or less sad, especially as a favor, including forgiveness
Forgiveness
Forgiveness is typically defined as the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution. The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as 'to grant free pardon and to give up all...

 and kindness
Kindness
Kindness is the act or the state of being kind, being marked by good and charitable behaviour, pleasant disposition, and concern for others. It is known as a virtue, and recognized as a value in many cultures and religions ....

.
When material objects are given as gifts, in many cultures they are traditionally packaged in some manner.
Encyclopedia
A gift or a present is the transfer of something without the expectation of receiving something in return. Although gift-giving might involve an expectation of reciprocity, a gift is meant to be free. In many human societies, the act of mutually exchanging money
Money
Money is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given country or socio-economic context. The main functions of money are distinguished as: a medium of exchange; a unit of account; a store of value; and, occasionally in the past,...

, goods
Property
Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation...

, etc. may contribute to social cohesion. Economists have elaborated the economics
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

 of gift-giving into the notion of a gift economy
Gift economy
In the social sciences, a gift economy is a society where valuable goods and services are regularly given without any explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards . Ideally, simultaneous or recurring giving serves to circulate and redistribute valuables within the community...

. By extension the term gift can refer to anything that makes the other happier
Happiness
Happiness is a mental state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. A variety of biological, psychological, religious, and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources....

 or less sad, especially as a favor, including forgiveness
Forgiveness
Forgiveness is typically defined as the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution. The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as 'to grant free pardon and to give up all...

 and kindness
Kindness
Kindness is the act or the state of being kind, being marked by good and charitable behaviour, pleasant disposition, and concern for others. It is known as a virtue, and recognized as a value in many cultures and religions ....

.

Presentation

When material objects are given as gifts, in many cultures they are traditionally packaged in some manner. For example, in Western culture, gifts are often wrapped in wrapping paper
Wrapping Paper
"Wrapping Paper" is a song with music composed by Jack Bruce and lyrics by Pete Brown, performed by Cream and originally released as a single in 1966 with "Cat's Squirrel" as the B side. It is featured on The Very Best of Cream...

 and accompanied by a gift note which may note the occasion, the recipient's name, and the giver's name. In Chinese culture, red wrapping connotes luck.

Occasions

The occasion may be:
  • Expression of love
    Love
    Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. In philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection. Love is central to many religions, as in the Christian phrase, "God is love" or Agape in the Canonical gospels...

     (Valentine's Day
    Valentine's Day
    Saint Valentine's Day, commonly shortened to Valentine's Day, is an annual commemoration held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine, and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496...

    ) or friendship
    Friendship
    Friendship is a form of interpersonal relationship generally considered to be closer than association, although there is a range of degrees of intimacy in both friendships and associations. Friendship and association are often thought of as spanning across the same continuum...

    .
  • Expression of gratitude
    Gratitude
    Gratitude, thankfulness, gratefulness, or appreciation is a feeling, emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. The experience of gratitude has historically been a focus of several world religions, and has been considered extensively by moral...

     for a gift received.
  • Expression of piety
    Piety
    In spiritual terminology, piety is a virtue that can mean religious devotion, spirituality, or a combination of both. A common element in most conceptions of piety is humility.- Etymology :...

    , in the form of charity
    Alms
    Alms or almsgiving is a religious rite which, in general, involves giving materially to another as an act of religious virtue.It exists in a number of religions. In Philippine Regions, alms are given as charity to benefit the poor. In Buddhism, alms are given by lay people to monks and nuns to...

    .
  • Expression of solidarity
    Solidarity (sociology)
    Solidarity is the integration, and degree and type of integration, shown by a society or group with people and their neighbors. It refers to the ties in a society - social relations - that bind people to one another. The term is generally employed in sociology and the other social sciences.What...

    , in the form of mutual aid.
  • To share wealth.
  • To offset misfortune.
  • Offering travel souvenir
    Souvenir
    A souvenir , memento, keepsake or token of remembrance is an object a person acquires for the memories the owner associates with it. The term souvenir brings to mind the mass-produced kitsch that is the main commodity of souvenir and gift shops in many tourist traps around the world...

    s.
  • Custom, on occasions (often celebrations) such as
    • A birthday
      Birthday
      A birthday is a day or anniversary where a person celebrates his or her date of birth. Birthdays are celebrated in numerous cultures, often with a gift, party or rite of passage. Although the major religions celebrate the birth of their founders , Christmas – which is celebrated widely by...

       (the person who has his or her birthday gives cake
      Cake
      Cake is a form of bread or bread-like food. In its modern forms, it is typically a sweet and enriched baked dessert. In its oldest forms, cakes were normally fried breads or cheesecakes, and normally had a disk shape...

      , etc. and/or receives gifts) This is most commonly from a family member or girlfriend
      Girlfriend
      Girlfriend is a term that can refer to either a female partner in a non-marital romantic relationship or a female non-romantic friend that is closer than other friends....

      /boyfriend
      Boyfriend
      A boyfriend is a person's regular male companion in a romantic or sexual relationship, although normally not in long-term committed relationships, where other titles A boyfriend is a person's regular male companion in a romantic or sexual relationship, although normally not in long-term committed...

      .
    • A potlatch
      Potlatch
      A potlatch is a gift-giving festival and primary economic system practiced by indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of Canada and United States. This includes Heiltsuk Nation, Haida, Nuxalk, Tlingit, Makah, Tsimshian, Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka'wakw, and Coast Salish cultures...

      , in societies where status is associated with gift-giving rather than acquisition.
    • Christmas
      Christmas
      Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

       (People give one another gifts, often supposedly receiving them from Santa Claus
      Santa Claus
      Santa Claus is a folklore figure in various cultures who distributes gifts to children, normally on Christmas Eve. Each name is a variation of Saint Nicholas, but refers to Santa Claus...

      .)
    • Saint Nicholas
      Saint Nicholas
      Saint Nicholas , also called Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic 4th-century saint and Greek Bishop of Myra . Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker...

       (People give each other gifts, often supposedly receiving them from Saint Nicholas.)
    • A wedding
      Wedding
      A wedding is the ceremony in which two people are united in marriage or a similar institution. Wedding traditions and customs vary greatly between cultures, ethnic groups, religions, countries, and social classes...

       (the couple receives gifts and gives food
      Food
      Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

       and/or drink
      Drink
      A drink, or beverage, is a liquid which is specifically prepared for human consumption. In addition to fulfilling a basic human need, beverages form part of the culture of human society.-Water:...

      s at the wedding reception
      Wedding reception
      A wedding reception is a party held after the completion of a marriage ceremony. It is held usually as hospitality for those who have attended the wedding, hence the name reception: the couple receives society, in the form of family and friends, for the first time as a married couple. Hosts...

      .)
    • A wedding anniversary
      Wedding anniversary
      -Official recognition:In the Commonwealth realms, one can receive a message from the monarch for 60th, 65th, and 70th wedding anniversaries, and any wedding anniversary after that...

       (each spouse receives gifts.)
    • A funeral
      Funeral
      A funeral is a ceremony for celebrating, sanctifying, or remembering the life of a person who has died. Funerary customs comprise the complex of beliefs and practices used by a culture to remember the dead, from interment itself, to various monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in their honor...

       (visitors bring flowers, the relatives of the deceased give food and/or drinks after the ceremonial part.)
    • A birth
      Childbirth
      Childbirth is the culmination of a human pregnancy or gestation period with the birth of one or more newborn infants from a woman's uterus...

       (the baby receives gifts, or the mother receives a gift from the father known as a push present
      Push present
      A push present is a present a new father gives a new mother when she gives birth to their child. In practice the present may be given before or after the birth, or even in the delivery room. The giving of push presents has supposedly grown in the United States in recent years...

      .)
    • Passing an examination (the student
      Student
      A student is a learner, or someone who attends an educational institution. In some nations, the English term is reserved for those who attend university, while a schoolchild under the age of eighteen is called a pupil in English...

       receives gifts.)
    • Father's Day
      Father's Day
      Father's Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. Many countries celebrate it on the third Sunday of June but it is also celebrated widely on other days...

       (the father
      Father
      A father, Pop, Dad, or Papa, is defined as a male parent of any type of offspring. The adjective "paternal" refers to father, parallel to "maternal" for mother...

       receives gifts.)
    • Mother's Day
      Mother's Day
      Mother's Day is a celebration honoring mothers and celebrating motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, yet most commonly in March, April, or May...

       (the mother
      Mother
      A mother, mum, mom, momma, or mama is a woman who has raised a child, given birth to a child, and/or supplied the ovum that grew into a child. Because of the complexity and differences of a mother's social, cultural, and religious definitions and roles, it is challenging to specify a universally...

       receives gifts.)
    • Exchange of gifts between a guest and a host, often a traditional practice.
    • Lagniappe
      Lagniappe
      A lagniappe is a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase , or more broadly, "something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure." The word is chiefly used in the Gulf Coast of the United States, but the concept is practiced in many countries where...

      .
    • Retirement
      Retirement
      Retirement is the point where a person stops employment completely. A person may also semi-retire by reducing work hours.Many people choose to retire when they are eligible for private or public pension benefits, although some are forced to retire when physical conditions don't allow the person to...

       Gifts
    • Congratulations Gifts
    • Engagement
      Engagement
      An engagement or betrothal is a promise to marry, and also the period of time between proposal and marriage which may be lengthy or trivial. During this period, a couple is said to be betrothed, affianced, engaged to be married, or simply engaged...

       Gifts
    • Wedding
      Wedding
      A wedding is the ceremony in which two people are united in marriage or a similar institution. Wedding traditions and customs vary greatly between cultures, ethnic groups, religions, countries, and social classes...

       Gifts
    • Anniversary
      Anniversary
      An anniversary is a day that commemorates or celebrates a past event that occurred on the same day of the year as the initial event. For example, the first event is the initial occurrence or, if planned, the inaugural of the event. One year later would be the first anniversary of that event...

       Gifts
    • Birthday
      Birthday
      A birthday is a day or anniversary where a person celebrates his or her date of birth. Birthdays are celebrated in numerous cultures, often with a gift, party or rite of passage. Although the major religions celebrate the birth of their founders , Christmas – which is celebrated widely by...

       Gifts
    • House Warming Day Gifts
    • New Baby Gifts

Legal aspects of gifts

At common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

, for a gift to have legal effect, it was required that there be (1) intent by the donor to give a gift, and (2) delivery to the recipient of the item to be given as a gift.

In some countries, certain types of gifts above a certain monetary amount are subject to taxation. For the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, see Gift tax in the United States.

Religious views

Lewis Hyde
Lewis Hyde
Lewis Hyde is a scholar, essayist, translator, cultural critic and writer whose scholarly work focuses on the nature of imagination, creativity, and property.-Early life:...

 remarks in The Gift that Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 considers the Incarnation and subsequent death of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 to be the greatest gift to humankind, and that the Jataka
Jataka
The Jātakas refer to a voluminous body of literature native to India concerning the previous births of the Buddha....

 contains a tale of the Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

 in his incarnation as the Wise Hare giving the ultimate alms
Alms
Alms or almsgiving is a religious rite which, in general, involves giving materially to another as an act of religious virtue.It exists in a number of religions. In Philippine Regions, alms are given as charity to benefit the poor. In Buddhism, alms are given by lay people to monks and nuns to...

 by offering himself up as a meal for Sakka. (Hyde, 1983, 58-60)

In the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 the bread and wine that are consecrated during the Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy is the common term for the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine tradition of Christian liturgy. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, use the same term...

 are referred to as "the Gifts." They are first of all the gifts of the community (both individually and corporately) to God, and then, after the epiklesis, the Gifts of the Body
Body of Christ
In Christian theology, the term Body of Christ has two separate connotations: it may refer to Jesus's statement about the Eucharist at the Last Supper that "This is my body" in , or the explicit usage of the term by the Apostle Paul in to refer to the Christian Church.Although in general usage the...

 and Blood
Blood of Christ
The Blood of Christ in Christian theology refers to the physical blood actually shed by Jesus Christ on the Cross, and the salvation which Christianity teaches was accomplished thereby; and the sacramental blood present in the Eucharist, which is considered by Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and...

 of Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 to the Church.

In the Judeo-Christian tradition God is seen as the source and giver of all good things: But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! 1 Chronicles 29:14 New Living Tradition (NLT). Life on earth is considered one of God’s gifts: And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. Ecclesiastes 5:19 (NLT).

In the Christian tradition Jesus is seen as a gift of God, For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NLT) The Holy Spirit is also seen as a gift of God: Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins, turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to show that you have received forgiveness for your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38 (NLT). Eternal life is considered one of God’s gifts to believers: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (NLT)

God also is seen as giving all people spiritual gifts to enrich their lives, help others, and to build up the church: However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. Ephesians 4:7 (NLT).

Ritual sacrifice
Sacrifice
Sacrifice is the offering of food, objects or the lives of animals or people to God or the gods as an act of propitiation or worship.While sacrifice often implies ritual killing, the term offering can be used for bloodless sacrifices of cereal food or artifacts...

s can be seen as return gifts to a deity
Deity
A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers....

.

See also

  • Alms
    Alms
    Alms or almsgiving is a religious rite which, in general, involves giving materially to another as an act of religious virtue.It exists in a number of religions. In Philippine Regions, alms are given as charity to benefit the poor. In Buddhism, alms are given by lay people to monks and nuns to...

  • Altruism
    Altruism
    Altruism is a concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures, and a core aspect of various religious traditions, though the concept of 'others' toward whom concern should be directed can vary among cultures and religions. Altruism is the opposite of...

  • Atonement
    Atonement (moral influence view)
    The moral influence view of the atonement teaches that the purpose and work of Jesus Christ was to bring positive moral change to humanity. This moral change came through the teachings and example of Jesus, the Christian movement he founded, and the inspiring effect of his martyrdom and resurrection...

  • Charity (practice)
    Charity (practice)
    The practice of charity means the voluntary giving of help to those in need who are not related to the giver.- Etymology :The word "charity" entered the English language through the Old French word "charité" which was derived from the Latin "caritas".Originally in Latin the word caritas meant...

     
  • Debt relief
    Debt relief
    Debt relief is the partial or total forgiveness of debt, or the slowing or stopping of debt growth, owed by individuals, corporations, or nations. From antiquity through the 19th century, it refers to domestic debts, in particular agricultural debts and freeing of debt slaves...

  • Gift (law)
    Gift (law)
    A gift, in the law of property, is the voluntary transfer of property from one person to another without full valuable consideration...

  • Gift tax
    Gift tax
    A gift tax is a tax imposed on the gratuitous transfer of ownership of property. The United States Internal Revenue Service says a gift is "Any transfer to an individual, either directly or indirectly, where full consideration is not received in return."When a taxable gift in the form of cash,...

  • Gift wrapping
    Gift wrapping
    Gift wrapping refers to the act of enclosing a gift in some sort of material. Wrapping paper is a kind of paper designed for gift wrapping. Gifts may also be wrapped in a box...


  • Giving Circles
    Giving Circles
    Giving Circles are a form of philanthropy where groups of individuals donate their own money or time to a pooled fund, decide together where to give these away to charity or community projects and, in doing so, seek to increase their awareness of and engagement in the issues covered by the charity...

  • Green Gifting
    Green Gifting
    Green Gifting is an emerging trend that results in a lower environmental impact as well as a lower impact on personal budgets from the gift giving process...

  • Friend gift
  • Random act of kindness
    Random act of kindness
    A random act of kindness is a selfless act performed by a person or people wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual person or people. The phrase may have been coined by Anne Herbert, who claims to have written "Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty" on a place mat at a...

  • Red packet
  • Regiving
  • Xenia (Greek)
    Xenia (Greek)
    Xenia is the Greek concept of hospitality, or generosity and courtesy shown to those who are far from home. It is often translated as "guest-friendship" because the rituals of hospitality created and expressed a reciprocal relationship between guest and host.The Greek god Zeus sometimes referred...



Further reading

  • Marcel Mauss
    Marcel Mauss
    Marcel Mauss was a French sociologist. The nephew of Émile Durkheim, Mauss' academic work traversed the boundaries between sociology and anthropology...

     and W.D. Halls, Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, W. W. Norton, 2000, trade paperback, ISBN 0-393-32043-X
  • Lewis Hyde
    Lewis Hyde
    Lewis Hyde is a scholar, essayist, translator, cultural critic and writer whose scholarly work focuses on the nature of imagination, creativity, and property.-Early life:...

    : The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, 1983 (ISBN 0-394-71519-5), especially part I, "A Theory of Gifts", part of which was originally published as "The Gift Must Always Move" in Co-Evolution Quarterly No. 35, Fall 1982.
  • Jean-Luc Marion
    Jean-Luc Marion
    Jean-Luc Marion is among the best-known living philosophers in France, former student of Jacques Derrida and one of the leading Catholic thinkers of modern times. Marion's take on the postmodern is informed by his expertise in patristic and mystical theology, phenomenology, and modern philosophy...

    translated by Jeffrey L. Kosky, "Being Given: Toward a Phenomenology of Giveness", Stanford University Press, 2002 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University, (cloth : alk. paper) ISBN 0-8047-3410-0.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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