synthetic tokens of regard
As can be seen in any florists window, flowers are used as tokens of regard in relation to births, deaths, weddings, arrivals, departures and any socially significant event. Artificial flowers are however not accepted as having the same meaning. They are seen as ‘stage’ money that represents something but has no actual value. There must be an aesthetic or sociological reason for this, but I have yet to discover it. The link between beauty and the emotions is comparatively obvious, but could it not be possible to say “thanks for inviting me, I’ve brought you a medal”? Or on the occasion of the birth of your child I would like to issue you with a subpoena.