We're living in troubled times. Or would you rather, doubtful times. It's an era of little or close to no trust, respect and love. People don't trust others enough to love them, or at least to show them that they do. So we're living in this endless cycle of skepticism and somewhat envy. In an evolving world, people have grown fonder of material show of affection like gifts, than with things that have to do with presence, loyalty and respect.
On normal days, we cherish gifts from our loved ones, and even those we don't love. And on special days, we even want more and better gifts, mostly from people we don't even care about, and sometimes, the feelings are mutual. We love to be told that we're beautiful, intelligent, loved, needed, wanted, special, and gifts have become the perfect way to demonstrate this show of affection.
According to Google Online Dictionary, a gift is a thing given willingly to someone without payment; in other words, a present. Gifts have somewhat been vulgarized in modern times. Going by this definition, presents are given willingly and it doesn't precise that there be an occasion for them to be given. We could therefore say that a gift can be offered in sign of appreciation, recognition, gratification... That's why we have birthday gifts, wedding gifts, graduation gifts...
Is there a standard by which gifts should be measured? This question goes to the giver and to the receiver. Oftentimes, I find people measuring the amount of love by the gift they receive. I also see people calculate the amount of goodness they've received from a person before giving them a present that'll equate those actions. So my question is therefore very simple. "What's the value of a gift to you?"
I was a very petted child, mostly because I grew up with grandma, and there's no way grandma's child won't be petted. Despite this, I have always held little acts of love very close to my heart. I'd always keep the presents my family and friends gave me until they faded completely or they got lost. And losing a present from someone was like being dumped by your first love, literally. Today, I still use a belt my aunt bought for me in 2010. It's outgrown its little teddy design but I still use it at least once a week. That's the value I attach to that gift, and to many more. Because I appreciate the giver's efforts.
People have always argued with regards to the quality/quantity of a gift rather than the intention. This reminds me of a story I read about a boy who gave his $100 to a girl and another who gave $1000. The difference between the two boys is that the former gave his all while the latter gave just a pinch of salt. In evaluating a present, it's always good to check where the gift is coming from. Is it a place of true love? Is it for self gratification? Is it in expectation of some future reward? As a person who has received gifts all his life, and has been very ungrateful along the way, I'd advice that next time somebody offers you something they bought with their money having you in mind, you pay attention to the heart value and not just the face value. In criminal law, they pay attention to the intention(mens rea) because there can be no action without intention.
It's not always fun to be on the receiving end. Sometimes you feel like you're just being mocked or belittled. And it's never easy to be on the giving end too. You genuinely want to offer something meaningful but you're afraid it won't meet up to the receiver's expectations or will make you appear as being boastful.
The value of a gift is in the person giving/receiving and in the intention behind it. Judging by this standard, a toothpick given with the purest of good intentions could be the noblest gift you'd ever get. Some people argue that when offering a gift, you should look for the things the benefactor would love. Others think that it is better to ask them before offering.
No matter the case, every gift should be accepted bona fide or returned. Likewise, every giver should be able to say that they gave in good faith.
Whether you're the beneficiary or the benefactor, always remember this: Never look the gift horse in the mouth.