Gifting has come a long way over the years; believe it or not, cavemen weren’t sat around purchasing gift cards for their buddies to spend at Tim Hortons! The history of gifting is an interesting one, so let’s explore it. We wanted to take a shallow (in the grand scheme of things) dive into the deep deep world of gifting and its history across the globe.
Gifting is Universal
Wherever you are around the world, gifting is likely to be taking place in some shape or form. Sure, it may differ largely across boarders and continents, but the idea remains roughly the same. Gifting is a fundamental part of human behaviour and has existed for thousands and thousands of years. The art of gift giving isn’t restricted to humans, either! Even chimpanzees have been known to give gifts to females in the mating process.
When cavemen gave gifts, it was often as a way of proving his ability to provide for a family. Cavemen also earned the respect of peers through gifting, since it showed a sense of success and power. Gifting back in those days often meant being presented with a stone or a tooth to keep as a keepsake. Luckily, (unless you like receiving stones and teeth as gifts) this social exchange has adapted and evolved over time. Gifts are now being given for the most obscure of occasions and reasons.
The 19th Century
Whilst gifting as always existed, it was in the 19th century that it adapted and become more similar to the gifting we know and love today. This is because it was in this century that technological development and manufacturing allowed us to afford a wider range of gifts in a more efficient manner. Gifting became easier and more instantaneous, and therefore gifts became more common.
We can’t talk about the history of gifting without talking about Ancient Egypt; after all, we have the Ancient Egyptians to thank for gift giving on birthdays! On a Pharaoh’s day of coronation, they were considered to have transformed into Gods and embarked on a new life, so the day was considered more important than their actual birthday. This day was now called their ‘birthday’. On this day, the Pharaoh would receive an abundance of gifts such as crops and jewellery.
Stay tuned for part two to delve deeper into the history of gifting!