View of the Gift of the Emperor's Gift Cup – Yōshū (Hashimoto) Chikanobu

View of the Gift of the Emperor's Gift Cup – Yōshū (Hashimoto) Chikanobu

The currency in a gift economy is relationship, which is expressed as gratitude, as interdependence and the ongoing cycles of reciprocity. A gift economy nurtures the community bonds that enhance mutual well-being; the economic unit is “we” rather than “I,” as all flourishing is mutual.

What makes a good gift?

Some notes and ideas about gift giving from this piece on

  • everyone’s idea of a good gift is so different; One’s own standards for gifts does not necessarily apply to everyone
  • there is some kind of quality of empathy or something — really understanding the person you’re giving the gift to
  • the best gifts are usually from people who know you really well, and in a particular way
  • good gift givers are also very good at listening and then remembering that one thing you said that one time about wanting something
  • "I also love when people give me playlists for my birthday"
  • it’s that foresight, or the fact that someone has been thinking about you as they buy or make somethings
  • pragmatic gifts: “I don’t know this person that well, but I know they live in New York. If they’re like me, they probably don’t want another physical object for their small apartment. I’m going to give them something that will naturally disappear — something ephemeral — like flowers, incense, candles, etc.”
  • a good gift has an element of surprise — that’s key
  • the best gift is when it’s something you want and you’re positive that the other person would want it too, because you can feel like there’s an overlap of what you can both feel excited about.
  • gift economy, or reorienting your thinking around gifts and abundance rather than scarcity, changes our whole relationship to the world
  • gift-giving promotes a sense of reciprocity.
  • The first thing that you feel when you get a gift is gratitude, and the second is reciprocity, you want to give a gift in return. So it kind of creates this web of “mutual flourishing.”