With the holidays coming up, as well as other year round holidays, such as Easter or Valentine’s day, the popularity of gift giving increases during these months. Regardless of what you celebrate, the correlation of gift giving and the intrinsic feeling of receiving gifts varies among cultures. Whether giving gifts is for appraisal purposes, obligation, or out of generosity, it is widely diversified in certain traditions.

The origins of gift giving can derive from religious beliefs, that has later conformed into this popular tradition. For example, Christmas is one of the most popular and largest gift giving holidays celebrated. This originates back to Christians,  and the gifts that were given are symbolic tributes made to baby Jesus by the Three Wise Men after his birth during the story of the Nativity. A reason that religious ties and giving gifts is popular among cultures, is because it is a sense of offering, and is an essential aspect of sacrifices ritually presented to a deity or deities. During Hanukkah, gift-giving is a relatively new tradition. It is respectful to not go overboard with gifts. Usually, items such as books, jewelry, and food can be appropriate presents and family gifts are appreciated.

Although gift giving may be praised in Western cultures, there are areas of the world that frown down upon this act. For example, China’s culture forbids giving gifts. This is because the gesture is viewed as bribery, which is deemed as an illegal act in this country. Consequently, your gift may be declined. In many organizations, however, attitudes surrounding gifts are beginning to relax. In Yemen and Saudi Arabia, it is considered embarrassing to receive a gift from anyone but closest friends and In Latin America, women giving gifts to men might look awkward as it can be misunderstood as a romantic interest. It is best if gifts are presented to work groups, children, or close friends.

Out of respect, it is important to be culturally aware of how other people view the idea of gift giving. Learning about other cultures besides your own can aid in sensibility of another person’s feelings and beliefs as well as expanding your perspective of others.

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