In the essay, ‘Gifts’, Emerson has written at length upon the idealism and the enforcing of the act of judgment involved while gift-giving or gift-receiving. Emerson dwells upon the virtues of selfless giving and defines a gift to be ‘a portion of thyself.’
Emerson has stated certain choices which one can make for gifting someone. The options include flowers, fruits, an article which is a necessity of the receivers or something that may suit the gift receiver’s personality. Though, he says that we tend to, at times, err while selecting gift items. For instance, choosing a ring or a jewel as a gift is nothing but a shame on the gifts as they convey no amount of personal sentiment or sacrifice. On contrast, the gift-giver expects the receiver to like it merely for the sake of its monetary value.
Another mistake which one is bound to make is to buy a gift for someone which does not reflect the giver’s –life and talent. In such cases, the intention of giving a gift is reduced to an effort for enhancing one’s own standing or as an atonement sum for sins. The practice of choosing expensive ready-made gifts is an attribute of the royals and the elite. However, such gifts are cold, impersonal and detached in nature. Hence, they become a mere formal act of gifting rather than of building up a bond between the gift giver and a receiver.
Hence, these are some common mistakes which people make while selecting a gift, for they end up giving more importance to the commodity than the love and emotion involved and associated with the chosen gift.