What is the meaning of Christmas gifts? Whether it’s the fear of going to a crowded shopping mall, the difficulty of choosing the right gift, the frustration of delayed delivery, or the impact on your wallet, buying gifts around the holidays can be overwhelming. Very stressful.
What is the point of all of this? Isn’t the holiday season just about family, friends, and food? And wouldn’t people be better off spending their money on things they know they want? Gift exchange seems unnecessary and impractical. But as social science research reveals, the costs and benefits of gifts are not what they seem.
Kula Nhẫn Rings
During his fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski documented a complex tradition of the Massim people. These island communities maintain an elaborate ceremonial exchange system centered around the gift of shell necklaces and shell armbands. Each gift is first transferred between individuals and then moves between the islands in a circle known as the “Ring of Kula”.
These artifacts have no practical or commercial use value. In fact, their sale is strictly forbidden by custom. And because objects are always in motion, their owners rarely take them away. However, the Massim people made long journeys to trade them, risking their lives and limbs as they sailed the treacherous waters of the Pacific in their rickety canoes.
This hardly looks like an efficient use of time and resources. But anthropologists have realized that Kula helps foster human connection. Personally, these gifts aren’t actually free; they come in with the expectation of a refund in the future. But in general, they serve to create a shared cycle of responsibility, resulting in a web of reciprocal relationships that pervades the entire community.
Similar exchanges exist in societies around the world. In many parts of Asia, gifts are an integral part of corporate culture. As with Massim, these iconic gifts facilitate business relationships. In much of the Western world, one of the most familiar settings is the custom of exchanging holiday gifts. On occasions like Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, many families spend a lot of time, effort, and money buying gifts for their loved ones.
Looking at it through the lens of cold logic, the practice seems pointless. Everyone has to pay for other people’s things. Some gifts cannot be used or returned. If no one gives gifts, then everyone is better off spending their money and time according to their needs and desires.
However, psychological research suggests otherwise.
Studies show that spending money on others is more enjoyable than squandering it on yourself. In fact, neuroscientists have found that giving a gift stimulates the brain’s reward circuit more than receiving a gift. Furthermore, the joy of being given a gift lasts longer than the fleeting joy of receiving it. By exchanging gifts, we can double, spreading the feeling of gratitude around. Also, since family and friends know each other’s likes, interests, and needs, chances are most people will get what they want in the first place, with the added benefit of bringing people together.
Weaving the network of connections
Ritual sharing occurs not only within families but also among themselves. Think birthday parties, weddings, or baby showers. Guests should bring a gift, usually of considerable value. They and their hosts often monitor the value of these gifts, and the recipient is expected to reciprocate with a gift of similar value when the occasion arises in the future.
This exchange serves several functions. For homeowners, it provides material support, often during difficult times of transition such as starting a new family. And for guests, it’s like investing money in a fund, to be used when it’s time to be a host. In addition, donations help elevate the symbolic status of the giver as well as that of the recipient, who has the ability to host a lavish guest-sponsored ceremony in part or in full. More importantly, these exchanges build a network of ritual bonds between families.
Similar practices even extend to politics:
When diplomats or leaders visit a foreign country, it is customary to exchange gifts. French officials often give bottles of wine, while Italian leaders often don fashionable ties.
Other diplomatic gifts may be more unusual. When President Richard Nixon visited China in 1972, Chairman Mao Zedong sent two giant pandas, named Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. The US government returned the favor by sending two cows to China.
From seashells exchanged by Pacific Islanders to toys and sweaters placed under the Christmas tree, sharing has always been at the heart of many ceremonial traditions. This is fundamentally different from other forms of physical exchange, such as trade or barter.
For the Massim, exchanging a shell necklace for a shell bracelet is not the same as exchanging yams for fish, just as giving a birthday present is not the same as giving money to a cashier for a purchase. grocery.
This refers to a more general rule of ritual actions:
They are not what they appear to be. Unlike ordinary acts, ritual acts are not pragmatic. It is this apparent lack of usefulness that makes them so special 카지노사이트.