The evolution of gifts

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By Nafha Maani Ebrahim

Gifts are an interesting phenomenon. There are people who do not believe in gifts. Some wait for occasions to give gifts out, while a few will create the occasion.

For some, the value of the gift is determined by its material worth, and of course, the brand. For others, it is the sentimental value and the message that the gift brings along, it can be one stem of flower with a heartfelt note that, in their eyes, is worth more than any expensive piece of jewellery with no meaningful gesture that accompanies.

An unconventional gift is one solicited for, in direct or indirect methods such as hinting, and I know people who use the latter method, especially with their partners, threatening with some sort of ‘retaliation’ if the gift does not show up. This, unfortunately takes away the true significance of a gift, that is giving willingly to someone with no expectation of a return.

Some years ago, finding the suitable present for someone was a much easier task. Flowers had meaning, there were only a few types of chocolate, the variety of choices on shelves were not as humongous as today.

We were also not as bombarded with advertisements on every social media forum enticing us to make up our mind on the choice of gifts, even before the one getting the gift has a chance to make a choice, the element of surprise and the joy of choosing a gift and receiving one is now diluted.

Children make a big percentage of gift receivers, and that spark in their eyes when opening a gift is beyond any joy. However, the balances are tipping and changing, in societies with plenty of resources, and a generation of spoiled kids, finding them a present that will excite them, is becoming a very challenging task. With the advent of mobiles and other communication gear, even little ones who used to be happy playing with plastic toys, prefer a digital gadget to operate.

I remember we used to immensely enjoy dressing our dolls with different clothes. Today, a little girl dresses virtual dolls on a screen with a tip of her finger, no other muscle is used! Boys loved pushing their toy cars around, today, they only like virtual races holding a joystick with eyes glued on the screen.
I can only imagine if electricity is cut one day, these children would have no clue on how to play!

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