Every year – the Germans are looking for the right Christmas gift. For many a tradition that they would not want to miss. Others deliberately refrain. For many, the desire for material gifts is moving more and more into the background. They are happy when others give them attention and time.
Giving gifts is one of the most powerful social forces of all. Because the relationships between people consist of give and take. Sociologists say: He who gives, communicates. He puts a statement in the room, and the recipient has to react to it somehow. Unlike conversation, we are not dealing with words, but with an object. That makes communication not so easy to ignore.
According to psychologists, a person who gives something away has two basic experiences: He grows inwardly in the process and is connected to others through it. Something similar happens when we help other people. Even if a gift has only a low material value, it can carry high other values in itself. It can say "I was thinking of you" or "I want you to think of me" .
The ideal value of giving gifts is becoming increasingly important
That the ideal value of giving is becoming increasingly important to many people is also shown by a survey of VdK members. "I don’t have to give presents to show that I like someone," says Heike Schutz from Immenhausen in Hesse. In her family, Christmas has been celebrated for many years without gifts. "We sit together quite comfortably with my parents, eat together and enjoy the time together" , says the VdK member. Traditionally, everyone in the family is responsible for preparing a particular dish. Then we eat until late in the evening and toast the husband’s birthday after midnight.
Time with the family instead of gifts
For Martin Bahlmann from Cloppenburg in Lower Saxony, spending time with his family is also the best Christmas present of all. "My wife and I haven’t given each other presents for years because our budget doesn’t allow it," says the VdK member. Nevertheless, there are Christmas traditions in the Bahlmann household. A must is the festively decorated tree, under which Christmas carols are traditionally sung with the whole family. "Our children also get a little something, it’s just part of the festivities," says the father of the family.
When everyone in the family gets together, eats together and has a lot of time for each other, then it’s Christmas for Stephan Heidrich from Wetzlar in Hesse, too. "That is in each year in such a way, gifts do not need we for it , so the VdK member.
As these examples show, Christmas can also be fulfilling without exchanging gifts. However, this presupposes that the family has decided not to give each other any presents. Because it can be quite unpleasant if this principle is then broken and individual family members receive something, but are empty-handed themselves. That could well disturb the peace at Christmas. To give nothing to itself, means then to do without it completely and not to come finally nevertheless still with the famous small thing around the corner.
Christmas: Reveling in childhood memories
Whether we give a gift or do without: At Christmas, we revel in childhood memories . Under the decorated Christmas tree lie colorful packages that arouse our curiosity. Which one is mine? What do you think will be inside? The indescribable moment when the doll or the train set we’ve been wishing for all year appears. A joy that we will probably never feel the same way later as adults. There are often too many expectations associated with gift giving. Is it also the right gift? Is the partner really happy? Gift-giving can become a complicated affair. But it doesn’t have to be, if we try to find out what we can do to make others happy. Often the motto is: less is more!
Surprise others with gifts and be surprised yourself
Barbara Berger from Herten in North Rhine-Westphalia loves to give her loved ones special gifts at Christmas. This year it will be a meal together in an unusual restaurant. "You eat in complete darkness and can relate to what it’s like to see nothing," says the 53-year-old.
For them, Christmas is about surprising others and being surprised themselves. It is not a question of giving a particularly large or high-quality gift, but one with an "aha" effect. If you think about it in good time, you will find what you are looking for.
One thing is certain: Christmas is and remains a celebration of joy, according to the Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion Research. Around 87 percent of Germans still enjoy not only receiving gifts, but also giving gifts themselves.