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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
  May 2016
  April 2016
Shilpa Bhasin Mehra

In a legal sense, the term "gift" refers to a definite, voluntary transfer of property from one person to another. The transfer must be made without any consideration (that is, without an expectation of receiving compensation in return). In our day to day life also, it has the same meaning, although instead of a property, we give a token. It is essentially a token of love and affection, given on occasions and sometimes even without any occasion.

When we give a gift to someone, it is a reflection of ourselves as well as of our feelings for the person we are giving it to. It has become a huge industry now, with endless choices. What is needed foremost is the desire/intent to give a good gift and a budget for the same. The budget part is the very obvious and tangible part. What we are about to discuss is the intent and the desire part of gifting.

When one receives a gift, it takes only a minute to know what you mean to the person giving it. You know the thought and effort t hat has gone in to. In the materialistic world that we live in today, all the emphasis seems to be on the cost factor. But still to many, a home-made cake baked by your niece would have a more special place in your heart than one from a 5 star hotel's pastry shop.

A gift unless it is on account of genuine love and affection as from parents to children, from friends or from siblings or out of genuine gratitude to someone who has without any expectation voluntarily done any good cause is a bona fide gift. I would categorise these as “natural gifts.”

All other forms of gifts – by whatever name called – corporate gifts, gifts by law firms or by individuals involve an element of expectation, of acknowledgment and a reciprocity in some form or the other. These are gifts with an expected consideration or to put it bluntly as an investment with a fond hope of a good return in future.

This is what makes me wonder, how a token of love and affection can be a used, old, tarnished or damaged thing? Why give such a thing to someone in the name of a gift. It demeans you, the giver as well as the receiver. What is more shocking is when educated and so-called cultured people do such a thing.

On one side, we love and believe in quotes like, "Karma - what goes around comes around". "Do unto others what you want others to do to you". Then, we push aside such noble thoughts and give the most unwanted thing in our cupboard to someone. Would you want someone to do the same to you? If economic pressures prevent you from giving a suitable gift, make or do something for the person. Even baby-sitting for the person would be such a precious gift, though it has no tangible value. A hand-made card or a video presentation on their birthday could bring a huge smile on their face. Free of cost.

If one follows the basic philosophy behind giving a gift, that of love and affection, then one won't go wrong. But if you are doing it under social pressure, to just carry something in your hand, because it's the done thing, then it's a different story. The same theory that applies to words applies to gifts. If you have nothing nice to say, better not to say anything. Similarly, if you have nothing nice to give, better not to give anything.

Corporates are realizing what a good means of reaching out to customers this principle of gifting is. They are spending lots on appreciating their loyal customers. From calendars and diaries, to electronic devices and daily use items that are very handy. I recently received a gift of an electronic device to weigh my luggage. Surprisingly it was on my shopping list, so I was very happy to receive it as a gift from a corporate. I have used it extensively and always appreciate the usefulness of the gift.

We all want to be remembered for something good. I read a lovely piece of writing, "People will forget about your degrees and awards, but will always remember how you made them feel." Better not to give anything than give something that will mar your image and reputation in the mind of others.

The purpose of gift-giving, whether by an individual or a corporation, is to please the recipient. Your reasons for doing so may vary but, whatever the reason, the focus must remain on the recipient. Careless or improper gift-giving can do your cause or relationship more harm than good. Gifts are never a substitute for a caring attitude, good business practices, goodwill or company manners. Nor should a gift ever be given as a bribe or when it could be misconstrued as one.Corporate gift giving can enhance a company's image and improve customer relations. A gift can convey many messages like power or sophistication.

We remember the good and the bad. I remember when I received a used item as a gift. I also remember with a smile, when I received a pen with the most handy pen drive from a reputed law firm. Law firms being sophisticated by their very nature, come up with very well thought of gifts.

Nowadays, with the widest array of gifts available and the malls being gift galores, not to forget the internet world, that has made gifting available at a click of a button worldwide, all it takes is a good intent to give a good gift (the payment has to be made obviously).

"Give. That is one of the world's greatest messages."  - John Loring

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