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Gifts under a Christmas tree.

A gift or a present is the transfer of something without the expectation of receiving something in return. Although gift-giving might involve an expectation of reciprocity, a gift is meant to be free.

In many human societies, the act of mutually exchanging money, goods, etc. may contribute to social cohesion. Economists have elaborated the economics of gift-giving into the notion of a gift economy.

By extension the term gift can refer to anything that makes the other happier or less sad, especially as a favor, including forgiveness and kindness.

Contents

Presentation

Traditional envelope containing money as a gift, from Japan

When material objects are given as gifts, in many cultures they are traditionally packaged in some manner.

For example, in Western culture, gifts are often wrapped in wrapping paper and accompanied by a gift note which may note the occasion, the recipient's name, and the giver's name. In Chinese culture, red wrapping connotes luck.

Occasions

The occasion may be:

Legal aspects of gifts

At common law, for a gift to have legal effect, it was required that there be (1) intent by the donor to give a gift, and (2) delivery to the recipient of the item to be given as a gift. In some countries, certain types of gifts above a certain monetary amount are subject to taxation.

Gifts may also be from a wealthy person, hoping that someone will reflect their largess.

Religious views

Ritual sacrifices can be seen as return gifts to a deity.

Lewis Hyde remarks in The Gift that Christianity considers the Incarnation and subsequent death of Jesus to be the greatest gift to humankind, and that the Jataka contains a tale of the Buddha in his incarnation as the Wise Hare giving the ultimate alms by offering himself up as a meal for Sakka. (Hyde, 1983, 58-60)

In the Eastern Orthodox Church the bread and wine that are consecrated during the Divine Liturgy are referred to as "the Gifts." They are first of all the gifts of the community (both individually and corporately) to God, and then, after the epiklesis, the Gifts of the Body and Blood of Christ to the Church.

In the Judeo-Christian tradition God is seen as the source and giver of all good things: But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! 1 Chronicles 29:14 New Living Tradition (NLT). Life on earth is considered one of God’s gifts: And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. Ecclesiastes 5:19 (NLT).

In the Christian tradition Jesus is seen as a gift of God, For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NLT)

The Holy Spirit is also seen as a gift of God: Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins, turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to show that you have received forgiveness for your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38 (NLT).

Eternal life is considered one of God’s gifts to believers: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (NLT)

God also is seen as giving all people spiritual gifts to enrich their lives, help others, and to build up the church: However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. Ephesians 4:7 (NLT).

See also

Further reading

  • Marcel Mauss and W.D. Halls, Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, W. W. Norton, 2000, trade paperback, ISBN 0-393-32043-X
  • Lewis Hyde: The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, 1983 (ISBN 0-394-71519-5), especially part I, "A Theory of Gifts", part of which was originally published as "The Gift Must Always Move" in Co-Evolution Quarterly No. 35, Fall 1982.
  • Jean-Luc Marion translated by Jeffrey L. Kosky, "Being Given: Toward a Phenomenology of Giveness", Stanford University Press, 2002 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University, (cloth : alk. paper) ISBN 0-8047-3410-0.

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

GIFT (a common Teutonic word, cf. Ger. die Gift, gift, das Gift, poison, formed from the Teut. stem gab-, to give, cf. Dutch geven, Ger. geben; in O. Eng. the word appears with initial y, the guttural of later English is due to Scandinavian influence), a general English term for a present or thing bestowed, i.e. an alienation of property otherwise than for a legal consideration, although in law it is often used to signify alienation with or without consideration. By analogy the terms "gift" and "gifted" are also used to signify the natural endowment of some special ability, or a miraculous power, in a person, as being not acquired in the ordinary way. The legal effect of a gratuitous gift only need be considered here. Formerly in English law property in land could be conveyed by one person to another by a verbal gift of the estate accompanied by delivery of possession. The Statute of Frauds required all such conveyances to be in writing, and a later statute (8 & 9 Vict. c. 106) requires them to be by deed. Personal property may be effectually transferred from one person to another by a simple verbal gift accompanied by delivery. If A delivers a chattel to B, saying or signifying that he does so by way of gift, the property passes, and the chattel belongs to B. But unless the actual thing is bodily handed over to the donee, the mere verbal expression of the donor's desire or intention has no legal effect whatever. The persons are in the position of parties to an agreement which is void as being without consideration. When the nature of the thing is such that it cannot be bodily handed over, it will be sufficient to put the donee in such a position as to enable him to deal with it as the owner. For example, when goods are in a warehouse, the delivery of the key will make a verbal gift of them effectual; but it seems that part delivery of goods which are capable of actual delivery will not validate a verbal gift of the part undelivered. So when goods are in the possession of a warehouseman, the handing over of a delivery order might, by special custom (but not otherwise, it appears), be sufficient to pass the property in the goods, although delivery of a bill of lading for goods at sea is equivalent to an actual delivery of the goods themselves.


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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also gift

German

Etymology

Old High German gift

Noun

Gift n. (genitive Gifts or Giftes, plural Gifte)

  1. poison

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

  1. An gratuity (Prov 19:6) to secure favour (18:16; 21:14), a thank-offering (Num 18:11), or a dowry (Gen 34:12).
  2. An oblation or proppitatory gift (2Sa 8:2,6; 1Ch 18:2,6; 2Ch 26:8; Ps 4512; 72:10).
  3. A bribe to a judge to obtain a favourable verdict (Ex 23:8; Deut 16:19).
  4. Simply a thing given (Mt 7:11; Lk 11:13; Eph 4:8); sacrifical (Mt 5:23, 24; 8:4); eleemosynary (Lk 21:1); a gratuity (Jn 4:10; Acts 8:20). In Acts 2:38 the generic word dorea is rendered "gift." It differs from the charisma (1Cor 12:4) as denoting not miraculous powers but the working of a new spirit in men, and that spirit from God.

The giving of presents entered largely into the affairs of common life in the East. The nature of the presents was as various as were the occasions: food (1Sam 9:7; 16:20), sheep and cattle (Gen 32:13-15), gold (2 Sam 18:11), jewels (Gen 24:53), furniture, and vessels for eating and drinking (2 Sam 17:28); delicacies, as spices, honey, etc. (1 Kg 10:25; 2 Kings 5: 22). The mode of presentation was with as much parade as possible: the presents were conveyed by the hands of servants (Jdg 3:18), or still better, on the backs of beasts of burden (2Kg 8:9). The refusal of a present was regarded as a high indignity; and this constituted the aggravated insult noticed in Mt 22:11, the marriage robe having been offered and refused.

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Simple English

File:Gifts
Gifts under a Christmas tree.

A gift or a present is something (usually money or a good) which is given to someone. People give gifts voluntarily and do not expect anything in return. A gift is usually something that family or friends give to each other on special acations like a birthday or a holiday. For example you will give gifts and presents at Christmas time, or Chocolates for Easter. Gifts are usually something that you really want to get. If it is a birthday gift, it would be clothes, money, or a toy that is not very costly. A small gift is usually wrapped up in wrapping paper, a big gift is most likely to be just given to or have a bow at the top.

Further reading

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  • Marcel Mauss and W.D. Halls, Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, W. W. Norton, 2000, trade paperback, ISBN 0-393-32043-X
  • Lewis Hyde: The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, 1983 (ISBN 0-394-71519-5), especially part I, "A Theory of Gifts", part of which was originally published as "The Gift Must Always Move" in Co-Evolution Quarterly No. 35, Fall 1982.
  • Jean-Luc Marion translated by Jeffrey L. Kosky, "Being Given: Toward a Phenomenology of Giveness", Stanford University Press, 2002 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University, (cloth : alk. paper) ISBN 0-8047-3410-0.









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