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Opinion: The importance of gift giving

How many of us have gone through the feeling of joy and pleasure after giving someone a thoughtful gift? I certainly have. Personal gift giving is very important in our society, but it is also something that is very lacking. We should increase the frequency of giving gifts not only to improve our overall relationships with each other, but to also increase our health and well being.  

Building relationships is a necessity for every individual. Whether it be school or personal bonds, every relationship will aid you into becoming a successful person in life.

It goes without saying that gift giving is important in personal relationships. However, the power of gift giving and its impact on you and those around you should not be underestimated.

During high school prom season, I witnessed a friend secure himself a date to prom with the help of a bouquet of flowers. I watched him hide the flowers behind his back and walk up to his crush with his beaming smile as he asked the girl out. The flowers really did add that extra bit of surprise to the atmosphere, as the girl was really shocked by the presentation and ultimately said yes to his proposal. 

This simple gift for a simple prom date may seem like a small act, but who knows, they may end up spending their lives together and it was a gift of flowers that made it possible. 

Relationships also make up a huge portion of your professional life, whether it be as a worker at a company or a student at your local high school. Through personal experiences, having a strong connection with your co-workers or teachers can really improve your quality of life. Giving a gift is sort of like building capital, but instead of building wealth and assets, you build a strong connection with the people around you. 

Throughout the years of my high school career, there have been a few classes where I was considered a “teacher’s pet” or a “favorite” of the teacher. The good relationships I had with teachers were built up through day to day conversations and connection, but it also helped when I gave them a thoughtful gift, such as for the holidays.

Thanks to the strengthened relationship I had with the teacher, he or she would spend more time on me when I didn’t understand a specific topic, or trust me more than other students because of the connection we have built. This extra trust and attention has really helped me grasp a deeper understanding of the coursework and ultimately allowed me to love the class as whole.

Now, entering my senior year, I can refer back to those teachers and request for them to help write my letters of recommendation for college. The bonds we have created during class have created benefits for me that I otherwise would not have had. 

Gift giving can also build positive relationships with strangers and be a benefit overall to society. For instance, a TikToker named Isaiah Garza did just that and was able to help out a homeless individual named Robin who was living on the streets on Skid Row, as reported in ABC7 News

He bought her a pair of shoes out of the kindness of his heart, yet Isaiah did not stop there as he still had a lot more planned for Robin, who was also a very kindhearted and affectionate individual. Along with the support of the TikTok community, Isaiah was able to give Robin her very own apartment and help her move out of the horrible living conditions of the streets of Los Angeles. Not every gift has to be such high value, like what Isaiah did, but it really is the effort that counts. 

Finally, gift giving is literally good for your health. In an online health blog, ThinkHealth, there is evidence reported from the National Institutes of Health to support that giving gifts is actually beneficial to human health. When you give gifts, the body releases various chemicals that make you “feel-good” about yourself: which include serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and also endorphins. These chemicals promote positive feelings in the social connection and trust portion of your brain, as reported by Cleveland Clinic.

On top of the extra gleeful moments of your life, giving gifts also improves your mental well being. In America, according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, Social Anxiety Disorder, or most commonly known as SAD, affects up to 15 million Americans, which is close to 7% of the entire US population.

Although studies cannot create a direct link with giving gifts aiding the number of cases of SAD, there is evidence showing that it does create many “social interdependencies” which ultimately allows the further development of relationships between a group of people, as reported by Swedish researchers from The Viktoria Institute. This is just another reason why gift giving is good for you, me, and everyone.

Giving gifts is an example of caring for each other. You can give gifts to build relationships ranging from friends, to your significant other, or even your teachers!  It can be done from just the kindness of your heart which improves society. It’s also just good for your health, as studies show that giving gifts essentially makes you a happy individual. Gift giving is nothing new, but we should all recognize its true value and start giving more gifts to each other today.