The Moral Obligation to Give Gifts This Christmas

The Moral Obligation to Give Gifts This Christmas

Gabriella Rodriguez-Sanchez, Reporter

Giving gifts to my family is a dilemma for me. I have a family split by literal barriers like oceans and emotional ones like divorce. Although the moral of gift-giving may not be what many people usually think about when the holidays come around, I feel like it’s a worthy topic that impacts many people across the globe. People should not have to feel a responsibility to give gifts.


Every time Christmas, or any holiday that requires gift giving comes around, more questions than answers to my situation come to my mind.


Should I get gifts delivered to my family that lives on an island in the North Atlantic Ocean? Should I get my dad a gift if he’s six hours away with a new family and doesn’t even talk to me anymore? What if I don’t send my sister a holiday card this year?


In an attempt to answer my own questions, I did some research about gift giving and its consequences psychologically.


According to an article by Psychology Today, giving gifts can pose several difficulties for the giver. The article stated that gift-giving is challenging, because it is hard to find gifts tailored to specific individuals.


For instance, the article suggested if a person is opposed to materialism, like my father, they’re not going to enjoy getting a gift that enforces the use of manufactured goods. For me, this means that if I do decide to give a gift to my dad despite not seeing him in in almost a year, it should be something he can use that doesn’t contribute to waste.


The article further goes on to say that gift-giving should not be obsessed over and the giver should not be anxiety-ridden when it comes to their expectation of how the receiver will react and respond to a gift.


The conclusion that I can draw from this would be that no matter who I decide to give a gift to this year I shouldn’t have to feel obligated to do so, and I shouldn’t expect a specific reaction.


An article by the American Psychological Association says there are solutions to dealing with the pressure that comes with gift-giving. Tips included recognizing how you deal with stress and setting realistic expectations and standards.


The ethical responsibility to give presents this holiday season is a personal choice everyone needs to make, but it’s not always the easiest choice and although I don’t have a set of people I give gifts to every Christmas, I consider myself a good gift giver nonetheless.