A gift is an exercise in undeservedness.
If a giver gives a gift to a recipient who believes he is getting nothing more than what he deserves, the recipient does experience the transaction not as a gift but merely as a payment for services rendered. Likewise, if the giver believes the gift is merely a payment for a debt, he will not expect reciprocation. Hence, the meaning of the item defines the impact it can or does not have on a relationship between two parties.
Gifts are exchanged between, on the one hand, givers who know they aren't obliged to give the gift and recipients, on the other hand, who know they are not entitled to the gift. It is because the transaction goes beyond deservedness that gift exchange is an exercise in autonomy and free will.