The History of Gift Giving

The History of Gift Giving

Whether it’s a birthday, Christmas, anniversary, or wedding, gift giving plays an integral role in our lives. It is a tradition that spans across multiple periods and cultures, and is at the heart of any special occasion. But where did the tradition begin, and why has it become such an important part of our lives? Here at Seaton Gifts, we are the experts in thoughtful and heartfelt gifts. We're here to talk through how the historic tradition started.

Our Ancestors

Believe it or not, gift-giving has existed even before the existence of mankind. Back in the days of our primate ancestors, male chimps were known to offer items of food to females in exchange for mating. Giving gifts really is embedded in our very nature!

The Cavemen

During the caveman era, tokens were often given as symbols of affection. Often passed from tribe leaders to ordinary cavemen, gifts were given as signs of respect and praise. These gifts often comprised of teeth or stones. Whilst quite different from today's standard of presents, these gifts were displayed as real symbols of success and power.

The Egyptians

Moving into Ancient Egyptian times, gift-giving developed some religious significance. In the hope of pleasing the Gods, ordinary civilians would shower their Pharaohs with presents. These would often be given on the Pharaoh’s coronation day – this was considered their ‘birth’ day as they transformed into Gods and started a new life. Therefore, Ancient Egyptians were among the first civilisations to practise annual gift-giving. From gold and jewellery to furniture and clothing, these items would be placed in pyramids and remained with Pharaohs on their journey to the afterlife.

The Middle Ages

The art of gift giving continued to develop into the Middle Ages. During this medieval period, the tradition adopted a new kind of significance, and became heavily politically charged. Gifts were often given to secure the favour of kings, or to show alliances during conflicts.

During large festivities like Christmas and New Year, gifts often comprised of lavish food to represent generosity and wealth. Books were also a popular choice during this period, due to their value and the ability to customise them. From herds of cattle and precious metals to goats and sheep, Medieval folk were certainly creative with their gift giving!

Gift-Giving Today

Today, gift-giving continues to be embedded in countries and cultures across the world. Whilst types of presents have evolved over the centuries, the psychology behind them has remained the same. They are an act of thoughtfulness, and enable us to connect with each other. That’s why giving a gift is often more fulfilling than receiving one ourselves!

We know how to gift

Here at Seaton Gifts, we know that gift-giving means much more than a price-tag. It is an expression of love, respect, good luck or condolences. That’s why we put thought into hand-picking high-quality items that we know people will love to receive. 

Whilst we don’t sell goats, gold or stones fit for a Pharaoh, we do have a fabulous range of items that, in our opinion, are perfect for that special person in your life.

Why not have a little browse? Happy gift-giving!