Exchange of gifts is an important part of our major festivals. This gives people a chance to go shopping which is a big stress-buster. Be it Holi , Diwali or any other festival, people can be seen buying sweets, dry fruits, household items and other things to be wrapped in attractive packets and given away as gifts. Around festival days, residential colonies are full of people unloading gift packets from their vehicles to be delivered to their recipients.
When one pays for gifts, it does not pinch much, because the receiver of the gift is likely to return stuff of almost equal value. One problem that the receiver normally encounters is that the price tag is often removed while handing over the gift. The intention in many cases is to keep the receiver under the illusion that the gift is worth much more in terms of money than what it actually is. The other person keeps guessing and may sometimes return a gift of much higher or lower value than what he would have done if the price tag had been left intact.
For some people, festivals may provide an opportunity to make some earning by way of exchange of gifts. They may travel far and wide in search of gifts which look much costlier than what they actually are. They may also try to pass on old stuff in new cartons.
There is one category for which festivals mean only receiving and not giving. These are people in high positions either in the Government or in the private sector. If they are pleased, they can confer monetary or non-monetary advantage on the givers of gifts. They are in a position to award some contract, purchase order, licence and so on. The giver of the gift thinks that giving is his duty and the taker thinks that taking is his right. Both are happy. Family members of many takers eagerly wait for their call bells to ring during major festivals. Such people easily inspire the envy of their neighbours. Those officers who do not receive gifts during festivals are considered lightweight not worth having as parents or spouses.
Gifts strengthen relationship when given with love without any consideration of benefit. These then become a manifestation of our inner feelings and remind us of beautiful moments spent with our loved ones. Let us not exchange gifts as a mere formality. Let us not make gifts a substitute of bribe.