Science doesn’t care if it’s rude. You might be caring too much about gift-giving social rules that have been actually ruining your efforts. The thing is, the gift-giving season has long since been infested by what we think is polite or desirable, and each year we are stressing to impress our loved ones only to end up disappointing them.
Here are some tips to better plan this year’s gifts for the holidays
1. Stressing Over Impressing
Stop spending so much time on the big reveal. We think we want that big moment under the Christmas tree, where we enjoy the ecstatic excitement, but the person getting the gift is thinking, can I actually use this?
Some people might be grateful for these short moments, but most of us are happy to have something that will serve us in the coming year. So stop focusing so much on exciting and shocking the other person with something fancy and expensive.
A 2008 study published by the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology pointed out that, on the contrary, receivers actually appreciate cheaper and more practical presents.
There are special people in our hearts we want to give special presents to, but you can’t give everyone in your life a present. However, you can always say “Merry Christmas” with ecards from Hallmark to anyone. For those you are getting presents for, keep in mind that thinking that you have to give everyone something special might actually backfire. What happens is you end up giving worse presents to people.
If you find one great book, just give this book to everyone. People don’t care, and this way you give one good gift to everyone instead of a mediocre one.
There are, however, gifts like Christmas Hampers Australia, where you can buy en masse but also choose the contents to match the tastes and personality of those you wish to impress during gift-giving season.
3. Giver-focused Presents are Better
There are two strategies for buying a perfect gift, the recipient-focused and giver-focused. Recipient-focused presents that best represents the person you’re giving the gift. The other one better reflects you, supposedly sharing a piece of yourself to another person.
Culturally, we are led to believe that it’s narcissistic of us to give such self-centered gifts, and most of us would advise in favor of the recipient-focused presents. However, research has shown that gifts that reflect givers better promote closeness.
4. Regifting Isn’t Rude
The point of gift-giving is sharing. Contrary to popular opinion, regifting is shown to be alright by most people who gave us the gift in the first place. It is us who feel we’re betraying that someone.
This guilt is preventing you from, not only giving the other person what they might like and need, but also from enjoying the feeling of rendering someone happy this way. Not to mention that it is better not to hoard stuff we don’t need instead of giving it to someone who does.
As long as you don’t give it back to the same person, it’s more than okay to do this during gift-giving season!
5. It’s Okay to Ask
One problem concerning this is the aforementioned idea that the point of a good gift is the big surprise. You’ll be surprised to see how happy people are when just receiving something they asked for.
Another problem is our preconception that we need to somehow divine what another person wants only to show them how well we know them. Unfortunately, thoughtful gifts usually turn out to be redundant and a 2011 Harvard and Stanford business schools research shows that people are generally more happy with the gifts that were on their wish lists for gift-giving season.
However, here’s some advice if you’re the one receiving the gift. Don’t leave it up to others to browse through your wish list and just ask for one thing. This way others won’t think that you’re fine with whatever you get, like they would be if there is a bunch of stuff on the list.
How should you approach this gift-giving season?
When summed up, all these social rules are paradoxically concerned with what another person will think of you, are you thoughtful enough, caring, generous enough. But the key to a good present is just common sense, so there’s no need to lose your mind trying to come up with gift ideas every gift-giving season. I
Check out a Busy Mom’s Christmas Gift Guide for more ideas!