Christmas in Covent Garden - an all too familiar sight for most of us at this time of year.
Trawling the internet, trying any recognisable search term, pounding the streets and peering through impeccably dressed windows or wrestling for a space at the rail beside the rest of the flushed faced, sweaty palmed Christmas gift shoppers desperately waiting for the moment that the perfect gift jumps out at them.
We know the trials and tribulations of finding that 'perfect' gift; we are all guilty of it, but why is it that we put ourselves through such horrendous mental strain in our bid to 'get it right'? We discuss the psychology of gift giving.
Most of us are social individuals who enjoy each other’s company and one of the most popular ways of expressing our feelings is through gift giving. Christmas and birthdays are probably the most popular time to practice a tradition that stretches back to before the days of Ancient Egypt, but gift giving is not just reserved for special dates throughout the year, sometimes giving someone a gift can be a statement of true love or simply a thank you for their help.
Christmas time is, perhaps, the most challenging time of the year when it comes to gift giving, mainly because the list of recipients can be longer than your weekly shopping list. Each person has their own tastes and preferences and the symbolic qualities that a gift can have means you want to get it right. The old proverb ‘don’t look a gift horse in the mouth’ teaches us to not find fault with something we have been given, but if you decided to give your friend a diet cookbook, how do you think they might feel about that gift?
When it comes to gift giving, psychologists believe it is the giver, rather than the recipient, that reaps the biggest psychological gain. In terms of the sexes, some psychologists also believe men are usually more practical and price-conscious of gifts they give and receive, while women tend to seek gifts with an emotional significance.
A popular gift that women seem to receive is jewellery, and after all, diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Perhaps it’s the intimacy that jewellery can offer the recipient that makes it a particularly special gift that can help strengthen bonds and demonstrate someone’s love and affection for someone else – in essence it’s a very powerful transmission of feelings.
The notion of gifting a friend or loved one some tableware to mark a special occasion may seem a little strange when first considered, but before you dismiss it as a gift that lacks the personalised, affectionate qualities that jewellery offers its recipient, you might want to consider what it can potentially symbolise.
Getting those closest to you round the dining table at home is a special occasion, even if it’s something you do on a regular basis. You can put the world to rights, share laughs, relax and enjoy each other’s company. With this in mind, gifting someone close to you tableware doesn’t seem like such a strange proposition anymore. It’s a gift that can become a symbol of those special moments spent together and can add an aesthetic elegance to an already enjoyable atmosphere.
So next time you find yourself becoming square-eyed from endless internet searches or your feet ache from the hundreds of shop fronts you’ve perused while searching for the perfect gift, why not consider some stylish tableware? The recipient may well understand that this gift’s significance is much more than a mere decoration...