The Most Frequently Given Gifts and Their Symbolic Meanings

Giving and receiving gifts is so very common that we often take it for granted. But have you ever thought about the different aspects of gift giving? For instance, do you know what are the most commonly given gifts? Are you aware of the symbolic significance of gifts like flowers and the possible dangers of giving gifts of certain colors? Now you may have started feeling that it is good to have a better understanding about gifts.

A nationwide survey found that among all the material gifts that one can give, flowers and jewelry stand at the top. Flowers were considered by respondents to be the best gift to give followed by jewelry, tickets, food, alcohol, perfume, and cologne. This information will be very valuable when you are trying to pick the right gift during the holiday season.

The top reason to give flowers is to show one’s love. More than half of those surveyed said they had given flowers to someone in the past year. And almost all of us must have got flowers from someone as well. In terms of who people want to receive a gift from, nothing beats spouses while mothers rank second. The most popular gift respondents wanted from their spouses was flowers, followed by jewelry, clothing, and cologne, in that order.

Flowers are the best gift to say ‘I love you’ and the best occasion to give flowers is Valentine’s Day, the lovers’ holiday. An anniversary ranked second while Mother’s Day came third, something any mummy’s boy can tell you is a holiday you never forget to send flowers on. Flowers also make a recipient feel the most special when he or she gets it, mostly due to its love connotations. No wonder the flower shops around the world mint money on important days like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc.

Oddly, the most often given gifts are not flowers, but clothes. Anyone who has received socks and pants from a wide range of relatives in one holiday season can attest to that. And we get such gifts right from our early childhood itself.

Between the sexes, it is no surprise that only one in three women gives flowers to men, while most men give flowers to women. It is an easy to find gift and is guaranteed to brighten the day of the special woman in your life.

Naturally, in the office more than a third of the respondents preferred gifts such as tickets to sporting or entertainment events from business associates rather than flowers.

When giving a gift, less than half expected a ‘thank you’ in return. Both males and females expected a ‘thank you’. An in-person ‘thank you’ or a handwritten note is the most acceptable ways to express gratitude. A phone call was considered acceptable, but in terms of a high-tech ‘thank you’, e-mail and faxes were felt to be bad gift etiquette.

A quarter of the respondents admitted to re-wrapping a gift and giving it to someone else. Women were more likely to do this than men.

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