Just recently my partner and I went to a friend’s housewarming party. On the drive over there, he to stop at a bottle shop to purchase a housewarming gift. He ended up buying a VERY expensive bottle of gin which I wasn’t very happy about. Why spend so much money on a housewarming present? After all, it’s highly unlikely that anyone else would get them a present in this day and age.
He disagreed with that. See, my boyfriend is a very generous person and I adore him for that. His logic is that if he could afford the nice present, then why not? I had to think about this. Do we give presents anymore? Presents for family is one thing, but I can’t remember the last time I bought a friend a birthday present that wasn’t just a drink when we were out.
Is it still acceptable to buy presents for our friends? Has the social etiquette changed in 2017?
We have been giving gifts to our loved ones for literally thousands of years. According to the NY Times*, giving gifts is used to strengthen bonds with family and friends. It is an important part of basic human interaction and is understood across the world and various language barriers.
We give others gifts because we reap psychological benefits from the act of giving. Unfortunately, in the world we live in the commercialism of gift giving and the hassle can turn people off giving gifts all together.
But what about the situation? Obviously for a wedding you need to give a present, or at least cash (depending on what is expected by the bride and groom). What about a baby shower? I would say that at least a baby toy is appropriate.
I think that the issue of modern gift etiquette arises when it comes to normal parties and purchasing gifts for the host. Do you bring a bottle of wine (or in our case, gin)? Do you bring food? What about an actual housewarming gift like a plant, or a blender?
It’s hard to know where to draw the line and what is socially acceptable. These days, it is not very likely for someone to purchase a gift for the host. Why is that? Are we simply less giving than we once were? Are we more selfish? Or is this simply the way of the future? There are a lot of questions we need to ask ourselves.
If we step away from the social etiquette of gift giving, I think the decision needs to be entirely personal. Think about the feeling you get when you give someone a gift that is not expected they don’t expect. It’s amazing. You honestly put a sparkle in someone’s eyes and it is a great way to strengthen your bond with that person… Science said so! Even if it is no longer socially mandatory to give a gift, and you can afford it, why wouldn’t you?
*Source: NY Times