A gift is defined as something material or immaterial voluntarily given to a person, group of people or entity without any payment in return, to celebrate an occasion or provide support. Why do we give gifts, then, investing time and money into thoughtful presents without expecting anything in return?
This principle of gift-giving psychology has been essential to humans as a society, to support each other and grow together. A group of researchers studying the effects of charitable donations found that giving activates a region of the brain associated with social bonding. Cool, huh?
While ethics and transparency have always been critically important in the business world, industries have begun to get more stringent about their gift policies around giving and receiving business gifts. This includes, but is not limited to:
Within the past few decades, because the business world has become more concerned with ethics, they have introduced more policies around giving gifts: corporate gift giving policies. It is also known as gifts and entertainment policies.
Giving a gift from one person to another should be something simple, seen as an act of appreciation and kindness, right? But back In the heyday of financial services and medical marketing, sales representatives and vendors would take their clients (decision-makers for major purchases) to expensive events and buy them luxury items.
In the U.S., the General Federal Bribery Statute (18 USCS prec 201(b)) defines a bribe as directly or indirectly corruptly giving, offering, or promising anything of value to any public official or person who has been selected to be a public official with intent to influence any official act, or to influence the recipient to commit or help commit fraud or otherwise act unlawfully.
In addition to addressing laws that govern gift giving, such as anti-bribery laws, a business may also be governed by additional industry-based regulations. Here are some company gift policy examples within a few of the more regulated industries:
When in doubt, be cautious and frugal. Gift limits can be set as low as $25 in some organizations. Most larger companies have established clear and specific gift policies as part of their codes of conduct.
If you need assistance a step deeper, our Send Curation team, aka in-house gift-giving experts, can help you navigate your gifting strategies for even the most regulated industries. Even if your client or prospect has a no gift-giving policy, we can help. Contact us today to see how it works!
Nancy A Shenker is a marketing consultant, writer, speaker, and Sendoso brand ambassador. Prior to launching her own company, theONswitch in 2003, she worked as a senior executive for major brands, where she often gave (and sometimes, unfortunately, rejected) gifts.
Gift-giving has its roots in pagan rituals held during the winter. When Christianity folded these rituals into Christmas, the justification for bearing gifts was redirected to the Three Wise Men, the Magi, who gave gifts to the infant Jesus. But in early modern Europe, it also had its roots in Christmas begging. At that time, Christmas bore little resemblance to the family-centered holiday celebrated today. During the holiday seasons, bands of young men, often rowdy, would "wassail" from home to home and demand handouts from the gentry, says Stephen Nissenbaum, author of "The Battle for Christmas." Christmas involved an exchange between the social classes.
But when Christmas was domesticated in the 1800s in the United States, the recipients of gift-giving shifted from the lower classes to children, given by versions of Santa Claus. It was then that a marketing opportunity was created, bringing us to the Santa-in-the-shopping-mall phenomenon that we recognize today.
Co-Workers: There are generally no legal restrictions on gifts exchanged among co-workers receiving the same pay. An employee may not accept a gift from a co-worker receiving less pay unless there is a personal (meaning beyond work), non-supervisory relationship between the co-workers.
While we all enjoy gift giving during the Holidays, these rules are important. As public servants, we have an obligation to avoid the appearance of unfair influence, whether through subordinate-supervisor gift giving or by accepting gifts from Defense contractors. So, be of good cheer and know you are now equipped to successfully navigate the rules of Federal employee gift giving.
Throughout Asia, gifts are given to show gratitude after receiving a gift and as a thank-you for hospitality. In Russia, thank-you cards are thought of as impractical; send a small gift to your hosts after a dinner or overnight stay instead.
Have you ever wondered where the tradition of gift-giving comes from? Many researchers have tried to shed light on the origins of this human habit which is observed in all cultures and social settings around the world. Giving gifts seems to be driven by our need to build and maintain good relationships with others in our social group. It is a symbolic act that allows us to express our feelings and strengthen our social bonds. However, gifts and gifting traditions have evolved considerably over time. So let's dive into the history of gifting, from prehistory until now, and take a look into the future of gift-giving!
The ancient Egyptians, some 5000 years ago, had a unique reason behind giving gifts. Rather than strengthening social bonds with peers, or neighbors, they gave gifts as offerings to their gods. These offerings were in exchange for protection, a favor, health, wealth or just general mercy. Superstition and religion went hand in hand in Ancient Egypt. The deceased were buried with gifts that were intended to guarantee them safe passage and a comfortable afterlife. They believed that everything buried with them followed them to the other side. These offerings included everyday items such as bowls and food, but also jewelry, idols or furniture for the more wealthy amongst the dead. Gifts were also given to pharaohs on their coronation day, which marked their rebirth as an actual deity, and thus someone from whom Egyptians wanted favor.
Did the Egyptians also give gifts to each other? Yes! For instance, during their New Year, which would have been around our calendar date of July 19. It was a popular holiday for the ancient Egyptians and the best occasion to exchange wishes of prosperity and divine blessing, accompanied by gifts like vases or small flasks, filled with holy water from the Nile.
The rites and traditions of offering gifts in an exchange for divine protection continued with the Ancient Greeks. For example, a child was given small amulets after birth, which were supposed to protect it from diseases. People believed that evil spirits haunted a person on their birthday. To ward off that evil, and to protect the birthday boy or girl, it was customary in Ancient Greece to offer wishes and gifts. The gifts gave the recipient a bit of good luck, in a way. So, if you ever questioned why you get presents on your birthday, it goes back to that belief that evil spirits are out to get you! A little less cheery than the way we see it today.
When Europe entered Medieval times, many tried to completely abolish superstitious habits. The Church saw amulets as a symbol of the devil's hold over men and of idolatry. However, the exchange of gifts played still an important role in social interactions in the Middle Ages. They were a useful way for people to foster relationships, such as dowries, or to prove their loyalty to powerful people like the king or influential church members. Gifts were also exchanged on New Year's Day, as in ancient times, but this time it was more about showing individual power and generosity. The most common gifts were edible goods, as food was - and is - indeed a powerful social status symbol. Back then, the kind of food you ate really depended on your social rank. So offering each other tasteful treats for special occasions, or inviting each other for festive dinners, was meant to impress and show off wealth.
Since prehistoric times, flowers and other plants have been used primarily for medicinal use. But in the Middle Ages, flowers were their own love language. As the Roman Catholic Church looked down on any public demonstration of romance, lovers gave each other flowers to express their feelings without being punished for it. Different flowers had different meanings, so elaborate messages could be given with just a single flower. Beyond blooms, singing serenades, reciting poems, or sewing locks of hair into clothes were all intimate gifts commonly exchanged between romantic lovers. Even today, it seems we still take inspiration from medieval gifts. Writing a song or poem for a loved one is still practiced. From mixtapes to unique romantic playlists are modern day examples of these classical gifts.
As time went on, the exchange of gifts became more and more complicated. Social norms have always had an impact on the rules of giving gifts, as we have seen. But halfway through the 18th century, rules of morality and gender norms also had to be taken into account. Women were not expected to give gifts to men to whom they were not related or married to. If wives gave gifts to their husbands, they were usually shaving kits, soaps, pens, tobacco boxes, or desk sets. More creative women would, of course, have made handmade gifts instead.
Gifts for women at that time had to be appropriate for the relationship shared with the gift giver, or else a scandal would break out. They were usually hygiene items such as soap and perfume, but could also be jewelry, handkerchiefs, knitting needles, fruit, candy, or flowers.
These many new cultural traditions put forward new rules and - also - a new social pressure: for your loved ones, it is sometimes expected for you to organize the perfect party with the perfect surprises and to have the right gift at the right time for the right person. Safe to say this is a far cry from the flowers and stones of gifts past. Not to mention, next to already busy lives, this pressure to become ever more creative when searching for the perfect is often left last-minute. But luckily for us, the internet exists and helps with this generational drive of creative gift-giving. What better place to search for the best gift than online? 041b061a72