The simple art of gift-giving has been around for centuries. Legend has it that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were an extra-thoughtful gift from the King to his terribly homesick wife, Artymis (hello!). Over a millennia later, Tsar Nicholas III gifted opulent Faberge eggs every Easter to his nearest and dearest because he rejoiced in seeing their excitement at receiving one of these ornate creations. And even Cleopatra disguised herself as a gift (she rolled herself up inside a carpet) so that she could sneak in a night with Julius Caesar. Why have people given gifts for so long? Because it’s a mutually rewarding act, where the giver benefits as much as the receiver.
Research shows that gift-giving not only makes the receiver feel happy and cared for, it also yields greater return for the giver too. By giving a gift to someone, attention is deflected from their problems and stresses, and makes them feel as if they are making a positive impact on the life of someone else. This, along with the pro-social impact that this transaction creates between the two people, is a fortuitous by-product of the ancient practice of gift-giving.