The science of giving meaningful gifts
Nothing can put a dent in your gift-giving spirit faster than spending hours in long lines at the store or scanning websites trying to find the perfect present, only to later hand it out to the recipient and have them look mildly engaged. But what if there was an art to picking out a gift that had more to do with the person’s soul instead of a hefty price tag? Consider these strategies.
1. Listen up
While you may think it’s a great idea to surprise someone on your list by giving them something you think is a meaningful gift, it’s best just to get them exactly what they have told you. For instance, weeks before the holidays, you heard them say they wanted the new Fitbit because they wanted to get in shape. But that seemed boring and predictable to you, so instead you bought them a gym membership. Well…that was the wrong move, says a 2011 study published in Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. The researchers found that that gift recipients are more appreciative of gifts they ask for than those they do not. So forget about what you think they want and get them what they’ve specifically asked for.
2. Size doesn’t matter
Still, the hardest part of this process is trying to show what you feel through your gift selection because as we know, actions speak louder than words. In the spirit of showing love, we might go big instead of thinking of what really makes the person happy. You might think buying your hubby the latest TV is perfect, but then when you get it home, it lights up the living room like a stadium and is totally wrong for the space. Instead, think smart and practical. For example, if he’s a movie buff, get him a year’s subscription to a streaming site and a selection of popcorn toppings!