October 30, 2023

Okay, today I'm coming out of the closet: I love Christmas. There is something in the air in the lead up to Christmas and on Christmas itself. I like that magic. I don't mind when the first spice cookies and gingerbread start appearing on the supermarket shelves in September. For me, that's when the anticipation begins. And... Attention, now it has to go out, ... Last Christmas by Wham is not anathema to me. Yes, I'm a little embarrassed 😊 Nevertheless, the song puts me in the Christmas mood. But what I like most about Christmas is giving presents.

Of course, giving gifts can be stressful. The pressure to find the right gift... All year long, I'm looking for gift ideas. I mentally make notes: L loved this the other day, Y's eyes light up at this, and S. loves this and that. After all, it's not the big, colorful, or expensive gifts that touch us. It's the carefully chosen ones, the unexpected ones, the ones that show us that we are seen.

Why we give

The perfect gift: a hand holds the presented work of art. In the background is a Christmas tree.

Why do we give gifts? I had never thought about it before. But in fact, the custom of exchanging gifts has developed all over the world and in almost every culture - independently. Giving gifts has always had a purpose. For example, it was used to compensate for social differences or to create goodwill. Gifts were used to show hospitality or to forge alliances. People gave gifts to appease the gods and to ask for luck or power.

Today, as then, the ritual of gift-giving is first and foremost about communication. Gifts express our feelings and nurture our relationships. We show the recipient that we have thought of him or her and demonstrate our empathy.

The perfect gift: 5 reasons to give art as a present

As an artist, it is obvious to me that art is a good gift idea. Our home is the place where we feel safe, which we share with our loved ones. Home is where we can retreat, where we can recharge our batteries. It is the place where we can be who we are. Let's give a gift to this place, let's give a gift to its inhabitants: inside.
Let me give you my top 5 reasons why art is the perfect gift for everyone.

1. original and unique

Another perfume, another wallet? And how much jewelry can you really wear? Gifts like these are interchangeable. Unless it's the perfume you've been looking for for a long time. The wallet was secretly bought on the Campo di Fiori during the last trip to Rome together, on the day when the sun was so blazing. And the jewelry is an old heirloom, meant to say: Welcome to the family.

That's what makes gifts valuable - far beyond their material value. It's about spending time together and showing the recipient how important they are to you. The right gift says: I see you, I know you!

Art is always an original, unique gift. It shows that you have thought about it and not just bought something. A work of art is a gift of memory, an invitation to remember and enjoy your time together. You can gather around it and create new memories. Art is a gift that can last for generations and even become a family heirloom.

2. good for the soul

Art makes people happy. What every artist already knows has now been scientifically proven. In 2019, the World Health Organization
WHO reviewed more than 900 publications and 3000 studies on art and health. Art and creativity strengthen mental and physical health and even help overcome serious illnesses.

Art strengthens social bonds, reduces stress, counteracts cognitive decline, and has a healing and supportive effect at all stages of life. This is not just true if you are a creative person. Passive enjoyment of art, such as in museums and exhibitions, also has these effects and is even prescribed by doctors in countries such as Canada.

Art touches us on an emotional level, stimulating our own creativity and boosting our self-confidence. Scientists have found that when we look at a work of art, our brains release the same hormones as when we look at a loved one. They say that looking at art has the same effect on us as a hug - can you give anything more beautiful?

3. invitation to feel

Art has a hold on us. Music can probably do this most directly, affecting our mood with the snap of a finger. Suddenly we want to dance - or cry. We are also aware of this influence in literature or movies, when we sympathize with the protagonists. In truth, any art can touch us that deeply, including dance, sculpture, or painting.

Art is aimed at a deeper level of the human experience, one that is often not immediately apparent. It conveys feelings and ideas that are difficult to put into words and is open to interpretation. This encourages engagement with a work of art on a personal level.

4. personal and relevant

"All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. Those who go beneath the symbol do so at their peril. In truth, art reflects the beholder, not life." - Oscar Wilde

Art often deals with universal themes that resonate with people around the world, such as love, pain, joy, loss, and hope. This creates a link between different cultures and societies. But it also makes us stop and think about our own positions on these issues. We begin to think about ourselves and our emotions.

Psychologist Dr. Helmut Leder puts it this way: "For me, art is an example of how we humans shape our environment. Our aesthetic sense has a lot to do with relating the relevance of external influences to our own self.

5. daily inspiration

Art encourages us to see the world from new perspectives. Those who go through life with a thirst for knowledge and curiosity will experience things that would otherwise remain hidden. Art stimulates that in us. When we engage in it, we become more creative, not just artistically. We can suddenly see new ways - even in solving problems.

A work of art is like a painted affirmation that makes us stronger, more open to diversity, more empathetic and understanding of ourselves. We grow within ourselves and gain a deeper understanding of complex issues.
Art can do all that! Don't you think this gift is perfect for everyone?

Choosing the right artwork

How do you choose a work of art to give as a gift?
Of course, you can ask yourself some general, I'll call them external, questions. In which room will the work of art hang? What colors will predominate there? Is there space for a large painting or a small one? Does the recipient already have art? What kind of art, etc.

In my opinion, gifts are always best received when the giver reveals a little bit about himself or herself. So I would almost always advise against giving something you don't like.

My advice is to look for a painting that touches something in you, that brings back a memory, that creates a connection between you and the recipient. It can be the subject, but it can also be a color or the dynamics of an artwork. How wonderful it is to hear: "When I saw this work of art, I couldn't help but think of you, so I want to give it to you."

You'll find that it also gives you wonderful moments when you go on this exploration. Isn't that blob of color the same shape as the blob of jam at our picnic? The color - just like his eyes. The movement in this picture reminds me of the wind that blew the first time I kissed her.

But I understand if you're not sure. Art is very personal, and it's meant to please. That's why I decided to offer gift certificates. You can choose the amount and send your loved ones on a journey of discovery. They can take as much time as they want, because the redemption is unlimited.

Art: A gift for any occasion

Art is a perfect gift for women, for men and even for children. The love of art can never be too young. And you don't have to spend a fortune to get
original art or a limited edition art print.

The perfect gift for a best friend? Art! For art lovers and art enthusiasts - anyway. A gift for people who like to travel to foreign cultures and those who prefer to stay at home, for city dwellers and nature lovers. Art comes in all sizes, colors, shapes, and themes. Whatever makes your loved one's heart sing, there is a piece of art that speaks of it.

In my opinion, a gift of art is appropriate for any occasion. First and foremost, of course, is Christmas. But the more personal the occasion, the more appropriate art is as a birthday or wedding gift. Moving into a new home is also the perfect occasion for art.

Have you ever received a work of art as a gift or an inheritance? What do you feel when you look at it? I would love to hear from you.

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About the Author Lea Finke

Lea Finke is an artist with all her soul. In her blog, she talks about inspiration, passion, and encounters with art.

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