Christmas Beyond Commodities: How Entrepreneurs Can Promote Meaningful Gift Giving

by Robbie Antonio

IN MODERN capitalist societies, Christmas shopping and gift giving has turned into a dreadful labor of love — a commercialized and exhausting retail frenzy.

Sad because throughout history, this symbolic exchange ritual has been crucial in developing relationships and in shaping social, economic, and moral aspects of human society across diverse cultures.

To rekindle the fundamental spirit of the Season of Giving — marked with goodwill, generosity, and altruism — we must go back to the most cherished elements of gift-giving rituals: personalization, thoughtful exchange, exciting unwrapping, and expression of gratitude.

Personalized approaches to touch hearts and minds

Christmas is a season for home and family, and exchanging gifts with family members usually involves more intense affection and sentiment.

But for these close relationships where it’s the thought that counts, material objects may come across as cold and impersonal commodities, purchased with money in crowded stores, and not given out of love and affection.

This could be why there is immense growth potential in the market for personalized gifts, or items with the name, photo, or caricature of the recipient. 

The potential products are limitless: mugs and tumblers, purses, pens and notepads, cell phone cases, stickers and keychains, as well as home decor and jewelry.

For friends, personal concern can be conveyed through trendy kits promoting mental health and self-love. 

For example, healing or self-care packages with essential oils, relaxing tea, fuzzy socks, bath essentials, eco-friendly toothbrushes, and face masks. These are usually presented with motivational labels, words of affirmation, and personalized notes.

Classy Christmas for the corporate world

Moving beyond the family and personal relationships, we see the practical function of gifts at work and in business. 

This can range from corporate Christmas tokens and gift giving at office parties, from student to teacher, from patient to doctor, and to those who provide services such as delivery men and door attendants, in recognition of good service.

In these settings, Christmas gifts may represent more than their economic value. They can also signify hierarchy, position, and intent.

Gifts have a social value in connecting with business partners, and it is essential for companies to understand this to effectively manage their reputation and the signals they send to their business network.

Trendy gift sets for work associates include bundles of whisky and flask, wine with bottle openers, tea leaves with automatic heating pots, or coffee beans with French press and mugs. 

When packaged in luxurious wooden boxes, they highlight the element of delightful unveiling, as one unspoken rule about Christmas gifts is that they must be wrapped before they are presented.

This adds to the surprise factor and the anticipation of unwrapping, which also drives demand in a submarket catering to aesthetic packaging. 

For example, a famous stationery company set up an online shop that offers customized gift wrapping, with materials specifically tailored to the giver’s requests.

Digital platforms for thoughtful exchanges

The internet has reduced physical barriers in gifting, facilitating virtual exchange regardless of time and distance. These include subscriptions to streaming services, gift cards for fun experiences and online classes, and food and wine delivery vouchers.

But in replacing the physical exchange , entrepreneurs who want to foray into the digital gifting market may do well to address the rituals of gift giving, such as the unveiling part, as surprise plays a key role in gift exchange.

Digital entrepreneurs must also consider other elements such as the effort exerted in preparation, thoughtful exchange, unexpected receipt, and expression of immediate gratitude — and provide online platforms for such interactions, including the ability to share these experiences on social media channels.





One response to “Christmas Beyond Commodities: How Entrepreneurs Can Promote Meaningful Gift Giving”

  1. Olivia Santiago Avatar
    Olivia Santiago

    I love sending out gift cards to friends because they appreciate that they could spend however they want. Try ko naman essential oils or a trip with them to the spa.
    In 2 months papunta na tayo ulet sa ber months, helpful article to read 🙂

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