We love gifts that have a personal touch, and that’s why we love National Make a Gift Day so much! Celebrated on December 3 each year, this unofficial holiday encourages people to create gifts for their loved ones, instead of relying on ready-made goods. This distinctive touch makes the gift all the more exclusive and adds more significance to the entire gift-giving process.
History of National Make a Gift Day
Giving and receiving gifts is a tradition as old as time, or so it seems. Evidence shows even cavemen gave gifts like teeth or stones — to potential mates, to people who have done something good for the tribe, or to other loved ones.
Biologists believe the gifting practice is an evolutionary act to establish dominance and show affection. Our nearest relative in the animal kingdom, chimpanzees, are a great example of this. Males give females gifts of food to attract them.
Several older cultures had their gift-giving ceremonies special to the era and traditions. Native American cultures practiced a gift-giving feast called ‘potlatch’ for thousands of years. Our tradition of gifting on birthdays likely stems from the Ancient Egyptians, who honored their pharaohs with gifts like jewelry and various crops on their ‘birthdays’ (the pharaohs’ coronation day, which was more important than their day of birth). Egyptians took gift-giving one step further: they buried their dead with gifts to guide them peacefully into the afterlife. The Ancient Greeks, too, gave us a tradition: blowing out candles. They believed evil spirits would come to haunt a loved one on their birthday, so they lighted candles and blew them out, making a wish to the gods to protect the birthday girl or boy.
The Middle Ages saw almost everyone exchange gifts, with those of a romantic nature increasing in frequency. Another unusual gift during that age was the dowry given by a man to his new bride’s father, in exchange for his daughter’s hand in marriage.
By the 19th century, cheaper manufacturing costs meant mass-produced goods were easily available and affordable, as a result, gift-giving increased all over. Gift-giving has become commonplace in today’s world, with gifts being a popular means of showing love, affection, and respect across cultures.
We are still looking into the history, origin, and founder(s) of this day, but we believe it is set in December to take advantage of the holiday season when more gifts are given than at any other time of the year.
National Make a Gift Day timeline
King Manuel I of Portugal sends a white elephant named Hanno to Pope Leo X; The Pope loves the pachyderm so much he commissions Italian Renaissance genius Raphael to paint Hanno's portrait.
Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan builds a mausoleum complex in Agra, India, in memory of and as a gift to his late wife Mumtaz Mahal.
France gifts the U.S. a statue as a gesture of friendship; it arrives in 350 individual pieces packed in more than 200 cases and is finally assembled as the Statue of Liberty.
Donors from President Truman's home state, Missouri, pay for a two-lane bowling alley to be installed in the White House as a birthday gift; President Truman doesn't use it much, but his staff loves it.
Richard Burton buys his then-wife, Elizabeth Taylor, a 69.42-carat pear-shaped diamond; it is the first diamond to be publicly sold for seven figures.
National Make a Gift Day FAQs
What days do you get presents?
People typically get presents on major official holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, 4th of July, and Christmas. They might also receive presents on birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions.
How do you make a fun birthday present?
Ideas for fun birthday presents could be personalized and could include scavenger hunts, surprise trips, customized puzzles, food, or even clothes.
Should you give gifts?
Giving a gift is up to the giver and the receiver. Usually, gifting creates a bond between people, allowing us to communicate our feelings and appreciation.
How to Celebrate National Make a Gift Day
Make a do-it-yourself gift of your own
Have a special friend’s birthday coming up? Scratching your head for what to get your sibling for Christmas? Try your hand at creating a personalized DIY gift. Get help from online videos and tutorials, and let your creativity do the rest.
Host a gift-making party
Invite the family to create gifts for each other on special occasions, or just because.
Learn a new skill
Maybe you are not always that creative, or you are not a dab hand with a glue gun. Now's the time to learn a new hobby and master the skill of putting personal touches on your gifts. We cannot wait to see what you come up with!
5 Fun Facts About Gift Giving Around The World
China loves the color red
Gifts wrapped in red paper are considered a good fortune for the recipients.
Italian wedding gifts
Guests at Italian weddings buy parts of the groom's tie as souvenirs, and the money from this goes to the bride as a symbol of the couple's new life.
Everyone gets a gift at Russian birthdays
In a particular tradition, gifts are hung on a clothesline, and each child attending the birthday party — not just the birthday boy or girl — gets to choose a present to take home.
Indians and odd numbers
While gifting objects or cash, Indians prefer odd numbers over even; so, $11 instead of $10.
Gifting in Arab culture
People take gifts along even if they are invited for a regular gathering in someone's home; whether they know the person or not, does not matter.
Why We Love National Make a Gift Day
We unleash our creativity
Everyone is encouraged to put their own flair toward creating a personal gift for their loved ones, and this might even spark a heretofore unknown talent for crafts and DIY gifts.
Nothing says 'love' better than a personal touch
Even if the gifts are messily wrapped or incorrectly made, the receiver sees the time and effort it takes to create a hand-made gift, and they will know how much they are valued.
Making your own gift gives more meaning
Store-bought items are the easy choice. Creating a present from scratch is infinitely harder, and not only because you are just starting in this area. Handcrafted gifts take a lot more time, creativity, and love to fashion, and this imbues the gift with a priceless tag.
National Make a Gift Day dates