Gift-Giving: Norms and Expectations
Whenever the holiday season approaches, the thought of presents and bonding with family members fills the air. During this time of the year, people throughout the world are buying presents for their loved ones. People are buying presents for those whom they appreciate and respect. The question remains to some people how much a present should be or whether or not receiving a gift is appropriate. The next few paragraphs will be my explanation and thoughts on gift-giving.
First, there are norms of gift-giving in the United States. One norm of gift-giving in the United States is that if you give a present, you should receive a present. Most of the people in the United States accept and follow this norm. Other people throughout the United States feel that sometimes accepting a gift isn’t the right thing to do; therefore, they feel as if they shouldn’t be obligated to give a gift to someone. Another norm is to give a gift around the holiday season. A third norm is to give a gift that is a decent price. A decent price of a gift should depend on how long you’ve known someone and how much they mean to you. A gift shouldn’t be accepted if it is not around the holiday season, someone’s birthday, or a long time after either one of these.
Second, there are speculations on whether or not you should give an expensive gift because you received an expensive gift. I feel that the value of a gift shouldn’t matter unless you and the other person agree on an acceptable price for the gifts. Likewise, an expensive gift might have been given to you because that is how much you mean to that person. You should think about that when you decide on whether or not you should give a gift in return. As an individual, you may refuse to accept the gift because you might feel that the person might not mean as much to you as you do to them. You might feel that returning a gift in lesser value is embarrassing and demeaning.
Third, I feel that it is easier to receive a gift than to give a gift because you might not know the expectations and assumptions of the other person you are buying the gift for. In order to figure out if to give a gift is appropriate, you should ask the person you are buying the gift for, instead of assuming they are automatically going to buy you a gift for the holidays. The value of a gift could matter in some situations. I feel that the more expensive a gift is, the more that the person cares about you. The value of a gift and giving someone a gift conflict when you get the wrong present, the present is too expensive, and when you expect a gift but do not receive a gift. The social conflicts of gift-giving are when you have interacted with someone for a long time, you feel that in a sense you are obligated to give them a gift. The problem with is that the other person might not feel or think the same way that you do. The other person might not buy you a gift, even though you go them a gift because they mean a lot to you.
Overall, the three major perspectives might view the act of gift-giving in another way. The functionalist perspective might see gift-giving as being necessary for the society as a whole to function. A functionalist might view the act of gift-giving as more products being brought and more money circulating throughout the United States, which helps to maintain the society. The conflict perspective might be that the wealthier people would only think about buying gifts for those who are as wealthy as them. The interactionist perspective might view the act of gift-giving as a way of being more social with others. Interactionist feel that the more interaction among others, the more people can relate to others and the way that they think. I feel that the perspective I agree with the most in this situation is the functionalist perspective. I agree with the functionalist perspective because I feel that gift-giving encourages others to buy more products, which helps stabilize our economy and keeps us functioning as a society.