Opinion: Is it possible to truly give a gift?

Photo courtesy of tofugu.com // Is the act of gift giving a true act of kindness, or simply an obligation that carries less meaning?

A gift is defined as a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present. When the holidays roll around, gifts are both exchanged and received. I wonder, is it truly possible to give a gift if you are receiving pleasure from your generosity? Reading the definition I guess answers this question on its own. If you are not receiving pleasure from the act then it was not given willingly which would make it… not a gift. While I don’t think one typically gives a gift without receiving pleasure from their generosity, I also believe that people might have other motives for giving gifts and they are not always merely from the goodness of their hearts.

Secret Santa for example, if done with a group of people who are not all close, can end up with you getting a person whom you don’t know well or don’t really like. In such cases, any gift will be given because it is somewhat of an obligation. You agreed to getting a gift for the person you chose therefore you have to buy it even though you might not necessarily want to. Giving games like Secret Santa aside, usually if you are buying someone a gift it is because you care about them and want to show them that. If you are human, this will bring you joy and delight knowing that you made them feel joyous and delightful.

Sophomore Claudia Tanner answers the questions stating that, “Yes, even though giving makes you feel good about yourself, you are still bringing someone else joy as well. So at the end, both sides are happy.” In the end, who really cares why you chose to give someone a gift and how it makes you feel because as senior Hannah Katz believes, “a gift is a gift no matter how many people it makes happy.”

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