Tis the season to celebrate and to give gifts. The holidays can, and should be a time filled with joy and wonder. Gift giving, however, can make that wonder contain a bit of frustration. What gift will perfectly express your feelings, and what item will fit the person are questions which too often make the task of shopping a difficult one. Yet this is no time to give up. It’s not only that you must have something to give. Shopping can also be a boost for your mental health. Yes, that’s right, psychologists have found that giving a gift has a deep-seated bonus for both our relationships and our own happiness.
According to recent studies, psychologists, anthropologists and even economic experts have observed that gift giving is an important and complex component of human relationships, helping to define and strengthen the bonds between us. They also agree it is often the giver who gains the most from the gift. One of the reasons, they say, is that “giving to others reinforces our feelings for them and makes us feel effective and caring.” Selecting the right gift for someone we care about offers us the benefits of enhancing our own feelings about that person and about ourselves.
The social benefits of gift giving should come as no surprise. Throughout human history, the concept of giving to others has been a part of a wide variety of societies. Gifts have long been used to express love, to mark a rite of passage or to create a bond such as a marriage. A few years back, the passage from child to young adult was marked with a particular gift of jewelry. Many young women were given their first strand of pearls on their sixteenth birthday. The celebration of marriage, both as a newlywed or one observing an anniversary, was marked with rings to show the eternal connection between two people.
Even in ancient times, the concept of gift giving held important connections. Potlatch, a type of communal giving engaged in by many prehistoric and historic societies, afforded great status and reward to the most generous givers. It was a social benefit which often created the means for survival for some within the community. Researchers feel there may have even been an evolutionary benefit to generosity, saying “men who were the most generous may have had the most reproductive success with women.”
The importance of many of these gift giving opportunities fuels the desire to choose a gift which will be both appreciated and long-lasting. Special occasions require special choices, an important consideration to keep in mind when choosing a gift. One of the reasons jewelry is so highly valued is its ability to remain a cherished heirloom. Choosing a necklace, bracelet or ring is opting to give a gift which is long-lasting and creates memories for the recipient, and for the giver. For a young person, it may be the first piece of fine jewelry they have owned, which offers another type of rite of passage.
The intricacy and meaning of the designs on Native American jewelry bring a depth to a gift which is a way of expressing the giver’s feelings in a tangible way. When shopping for a way to express deep feelings or to create a lasting heirloom, Native American jewelry is an affordable and valued option. So let the season bring lasting memories for you and your loved ones with a piece of jewelry you will all long enjoy.
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