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Description: Ok, at the risk of incurring your anger for not having passed these secrets along sooner (it is Christmas Eve as I write this), did you know that there is Psychological research into what makes something a good or at least better present and the differences between what gift givers think is the answer the question of what others will want or like and what gift receivers think. Yes, there IS a difference. So, reflect on any data you acquired this year by giving and receiving gifts and watching or at speculating upon others’ reactions (and reflecting on your own) and then answer these questions. What are the two goals of gift giving and what variables move one closer to or further away from achieving those goals? OK, got it all figured out? Well read the article linked below and see if your responses match what Psychology Research tells us (and then make some mental adjustments for your next gift giving opportunity)!

Source: The secret psychology of gift giving, The Big Smoke, TBS Newsbot.

Date: December 24, 2020

Photo Credit: Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, how did you do coming up with the two goals; the recipient’s happiness and strengthen ing your relationship with the recipient? Did the “when to ask them what they want” conundrum make sense? A definite relationship challenge there! It is particularly important top pay attention to the research finding that people tend to NOT be as good at discerning what their gift recipient will like. This is a problematic bias or self-reflective shortfall as it leans we act on things we KNOW that may not be as true as we think. Thoughtfulness is NOT just thinking about it; it is thinking about it is a non-biased manner, something we humans do not do very well much of the time. The research reported reflects this very clearly where recipients preferred (viewed as MORE thoughtful) wedding gifts that were ON their registry list compared to off-list gifts folks gave them thinking they were being MORE thoughtful. Write that down as a future use rule! How about cash? Nope, never (gift cards barely)! The two biggest take-aways from the research? Give experiences over stuff and quality time best of all. Now, do your post-gift-giving season audit and make plans to ace do better or at least as well, next time!

SO, as of December 24, 2020 Have as Happy a Holiday Season as possible (all things considered) and May 2021 become happier and brighter as it unfolds.

Stay safe!

Mike Boyes

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Are there any other goals for gift giving that might be worth doing some research into beyond making recipients happier and strengthen ing our relationships with them?
  2. What are some ways to achieve the gift goals without actually spending money (or stealing)?
  3. Why might it be that experiences surpass material stuff as gifts in the minds of recipients?

References (Read Further):

Gino, F., & Flynn, F. J. (2011). Give them what they want: The benefits of explicitness in gift exchange. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47(5), 915-922. Link

Chan, C., & Mogilner, C. (2017). Experiential gifts foster stronger social relationships than material gifts. Journal of Consumer research, 43(6), 913-931. Link

Kasser, T., & Sheldon, K. M. (2002). What makes for a merry Christmas?. Journal of happiness studies, 3(4), 313-329. Link

Galak, J., Givi, J., & Williams, E. F. (2016). Why certain gifts are great to give but not to get: A framework for understanding errors in gift giving. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 25(6), 380-385. Link

Kizilcec, R. F., Bakshy, E., Eckles, D., & Burke, M. (2018, April). Social influence and reciprocity in online gift giving. In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1-11). Link

Hyun, N. K., Park, Y., & Park, S. W. (2016). Narcissism and gift giving: Not every gift is for others. Personality and Individual Differences, 96, 47-51. Link