Presents – What is the Perfect Gift?
These days we give presents for so many reasons, birthdays, Christmas, engagement, graduation, house warmings, weddings, baby showers, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, thank yous, the list goes on… But gift giving has been around for centuries!
So where did gift giving begin?
The ancient tradition of gifting a present can be traced as far back as cavemen. It was an important part of their communities, particularly for establishing dominance, being respected and starting a family. The giving of presents was used to show love and affection towards one another and would help attract a mate. Giving presents was also inferred as a status symbol when leaders of tribes would show their appreciation for the contributions of those who were part of an important achievement.
Throughout history we can see so many examples of different cultures and their different gift giving traditions. The early Egyptians gave presents to their pharaohs who built massive pyramids to store their wealth for afterlife.
Native American cultures practiced a ‘potlatch’ which is a gift-giving feast observed on special occasions such as births, deaths and weddings. But here the attention was on the giver, as family prestige was measured by who could give the most lavish presents.
During the Middle Ages gifts were used to secure the personal favour of the king or to show allegiance in times of war. Also, presents were given by the bride’s family on betrothment, which were known as dowries.
What are biggest and most expensive presents in history?
As gift-giving has grown throughout the world it also become customary as an expression of friendship, love, neighbourliness and peace between nations. Arguably the biggest present in history is when France gifted the United States with The Statue of Liberty on the 100th anniversary of The Declaration of Independence. While one of the most expensive gifts in history is in India where 20,000 artisans were part of its construction. It is of course the Taj Mahal, the white marble mausoleum built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (reigned 1628-1658) for his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal.
What makes the perfect present?
Gift giving back in the caveman days could be anything from an unusually shaped rock, or bark from a tree, an animal tooth, or other items that are natural in origin. During the Middle Ages presents could range from coins to precious metals, or even cattle, goats or sheep.
Today gift giving is part of our everyday culture and defines who we are and the message we want to send with our gift. The biggest modern-day Christmas gift-giving tradition in the western world is partly tied up with the gifts of the Three Wise Men who brought gifts at the birth of Jesus.
These days presents are given for all occasions and celebrations and are a means of communicating with each other. Many presents given now include a bottle of wine to celebrate a special occasion, a box of chocolates as a delicious treat (Devonport Chocolates has got to be one of our fav NZ chocolates presents) or other things like socks, flowers or food hampers.
But, what does science say are the best presents?
Well, in 2003 two psychologists, Leaf Van Boven and Thomas Gilovich did the first experiment on the effects of buying experiences versus material things, and how these purchases affect our happiness. The results showed that in almost all cases the experiential purchases lead to greater overall satisfaction. Since then there have been many more scientific studies that have concluded that experiences bring people more happiness.
“An experiential gift is more intensely emotional than a material possession,” says Cindy Chan a Professor at the University of Toronto who researched this. “If you want to give them something that will make them feel closer to you, give an experience.
And you may not need to put in as much time and thought into each person’s present as you think. Studies have shown It’s better to buy lots of people the same good present than to give everyone individual gifts that aren’t as good. We tend to think we need to give unique presents, but recipients don’t care much about that.
Our top present suggestion
We might be a little biased… but science proves experiences make better presents and we know you just can’t go wrong with a Chuffed Gift. A Chuffed Gift holds a passport to unique experiences all over New Zealand. You simply choose the package and they choose which experience they want to do! When your giftee gets to choose from up to 120 incredible options across NZ, so you don’t have to pick just one experience and worry if they’ll enjoy ziplining or be too scared to give it a go.
Whatever you need there’s a present for everyone for every occasion, whether it’s for him, for her, for families or for two. And you can feel even better about your gift giving knowing you’re supporting hundreds of businesses nationwide and giving something sustainable.
One of our most popular presents is our Explore Experience Collection for Two package which has over 110 experience options for your lucky giftees to choose from. They’ll be spoilt for choice, regardless of whether your gift recipient thinks fun is something filled with adrenaline, they enjoy getting out into nature, or something more relaxing like wine tasting or a massage.
Check out the Explore Experience Collection – For Two here.
Or view All Chuffed Gifts here.