Most people assume that luxury gifts require a large financial investment. Not so. Luxury is truly in the eye of the beholder. For one person a luxury gift might consist of some bath and body oils; for others only diamonds will please.
The idea of pampering a person as a sign of adoration and respect has been around for centuries. The idea of gift giving has been popularized throughout history. In ancient Rome gifts were given to celebrate the New Year. These first celebrations however, often did not entail the giving and receiving of luxury gifts. In Roman times, gifts such as food and vegetables were not uncommon. Alcohol might also be considered a traditional offering, though liquor is a popular choice even in contemporary societies.
Christmas time universally has been documented as an occasion worthy of gift sharing, though traditionally this holiday was celebrated in absentia of any gift giving. Rather people gathered together to celebrate and share food, drink and good company. In contemporary society, almost any occasion is an event worthy of gift exchange.
During Victorian times, Christmas gift giving became very popular. There were an unlimited number of popular gift items shared among young ladies; these included books, flowers, bonbons, silver, letter clips and tea cups. Cigar cutters were popular items for men during this period.
Gift giving has also become a popular ‘game’ during the holidays. Games such as a White Elephant Gift Exchange allow all the excitement and good humor traditionally associated with gift giving with an added aspect of comedy. White Elephant Exchanges are perhaps the polar opposite of luxury gifts. In a White Elephant Exchange a group exchanges gifts that might be anything from a can opener to a used jar of applesauce. The point is to have some gifts that are valuable and that might be prized in a game setting that everyone tries to end up with, while everyone else participates in a mad exchange of ‘gag’ gifts. The ‘gag’ gift aspect is not a requirement but it can certainly fill a room with lots of laughter and good humor.
Luxury has been defined as “anything which pleases the senses”, that is difficult to obtain, or has a quality of expensive rarity. This can translate however, into almost anything. Chaucer described luxury as “wine and drunkenness.” Others have described it as lust, voluptuousness, lasciviousness, gratification and even exuberance. No matter how you define luxury, there are boundless luxury gifts available that please the senses, soul, mind and spirit. By nature this type of gift symbolizes something that is not necessarily a necessity, but something that obviously adds pleasure, comfort and frills.