Photo by Jeremy Cai
It seems that things have changed in the art of gift giving. Whereas in the past traditionalists and etiquette experts insisted on thoughtful gifts, social scientists of today claim that the thought doesn’t really count as much as it once did.
Experts claim you should ignore the oppression of mindless consumerism and not be tempted by the pre-made, cookie-cutter gifts, but strive towards finding a gift that is practical and uncomplicated. There is no need to spend hours struggling to find the perfect gift and spend loads of money on it. It might make you feel better, but in reality, it won’t mean much to the receiver. Instead, consider the following suggestions to lead you in the right direction.
The price bears no great importance
Gift-givers are the ones who think they’re being thoughtful by picking expensive gifts, especially if they’re struggling to pick among a few options. It’s called “the egocentric bias”, as shoppers focus on their own experience while shopping. But recipients know nothing of this; they only see the end result. To them, it’s about the surprise and gratitude for receiving the gift itself that matters, since the other alternative is no gift at all. So, whether it’s an iPod or a simple CD compilation, the joyous gratitude is the same.
Photo by Leonardo Wong
No need for a big reveal
Another thing many givers strive for is finding a gift that would be extravagant or sensational and create a lot of drama when revealed. But, it’s exactly what no recipient expects, since it’s not about the act of exchange itself, but about the long-term use of the gift, its practicality or even sentimental value.
No shame in re-giving
Most people refrain from re-giving as they feel it would make them look cheap and it would be offensive to their giver, or the respective receiver. However, studies show that neither side feels any grudge – the previous givers aren’t offended, and it’s up to the recipients to decide if they want to use it, forward it, or dispose of it.
Photo by Icons8 team
Being practical is great
Most people appreciate practical gifts that can be used later. Regardless of where you live, from the States to Europe or the land down under, being practical is very much welcomed. For instance, if you have been a careful listener and know your beloved one has a busy and hectic lifestyle in a big city, like Sydney or Melbourne, and can’t find time for simple pleasures, consider giving them something that would put a smile on their face, such as a prepaid visa card in Australia. It’s an original, practical, convenient, and effective solution that will enable them to indulge themselves and get things done while on the go.
Let the recipients help
As frames of reference of the giver and gift recipient are commonly different, a carefully picked out and individualized gift might turn out to be completely wrong and outside of the receiver’s wish list. So, it may seem better to let your recipients tell you what they want by giving you their wish list or gift registry. Research shows that people are much more satisfied with getting the gift they selected themselves than a random and unsolicited present.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez
Thoughtfulness doesn’t count much
The reason why some people take a lot of time and effort in picking out the perfect gift is that it makes them feel closer to that person and happier with themselves, but the truth is, it usually means nothing to the recipients. It’s important for the gift-giver to feel their effort was appreciated, but for the receiver, the satisfaction coming from a thoughtful and thoughtless gift is practically the same.
As long as the gift provides satisfaction, the recipients don’t actually consider how much thought was invested, especially if it came from someone they don’t know very well.
The bottom line is if you want to give a present that will be valued, focus on buying something good that also makes you feel good, regardless of the fact if it’s thoughtful or not. Put as much thought and effort as you like, but also be prepared that your thoughtfulness might be overlooked. Be flexible in your choices, remain original, and try to have fun doing it!