Giving a gift can be even more exciting than receiving one – especially when it is just what the recipient loves. But the question is, how do you choose the ideal gift for your loved one? It undoubtedly seems like an art for some people – you’re either an excellent gift giver or not.
However, science says it is all about setting aside your desires and anticipating the other person’s. Often, people give expensive and unanticipated gifts to see the recipient’s excitement when they open them. But according to psychology, there are better ways of doing this. Forget about making the gift sophisticated – instead, make sure it will be valuable to the recipient.
It might seem complicated, but it’s not. You don’t need a crystal ball to become a better gift-giver. Anyone can do it – they just need to learn the secrets behind it.
The psychology of gift-giving
Have you ever wondered what motivates people to give gifts to their loved ones? While there are several reasons why people do it, the main factor is emotion. Gifts create positive feelings in both the giver and receiver.
Humans are social creatures who have lived and worked together for millions of years. Cooperation makes them thrive. The positive feelings people experience when sharing gifts are the result of human evolution. Throughout time, several studies have examined human behaviour and gift-giving. From a psychological perspective, gift-giving is a form of human interaction. It allows you to connect with your loved ones, giving you a sense of purpose.
Through gift-giving, you create and define your relationship with the people in your life. Plus, it’s an excellent way of strengthening the bond. It is a love language – when you give them a gift, you show appreciation for your loved ones. And making them happy also fulfils you.
The motivations behind gift-giving have changed considerably over the years. Greeks were the first to start the practice of giving gifts on birthdays. They offered sacrifices to gods and were the ones to create the birthday cake. Next, Romans celebrated birthdays by throwing lavish parties with lots of wine and good food.
Tips for giving more meaningful gifts
Tailor the gift to the recipient
According to psychologists, the purpose of gift-giving is to show the person you know them well and that they matter to you. This means tailoring the gift to your loved one’s needs. Considering their personality and preferences is essential in making the gift meaningful.
You should also consider practicality. Research has shown that gift-givers focus on the desirability of gifts rather than how the recipient can use them. However, it’s better to give something more practical than desirable. To become a better gift-giver, you should pick something based on what the recipient would really like to receive – this will have a better outcome than choosing something you would like to give.
Consider donating in the name of your recipient
Science has shown that giving a gift to a friend or charity can make you happy. It’s a positive loop: the more people give to charity, the happier they are. And because it makes them so happy, they want to give more.
And this charity-related happiness increases when giving becomes a way to foster social connection. Giving in a customised manner, via a relative or friend, makes people happier than if they donated anonymously. So, consider giving to less fortunate people rather than purchasing a specific item for your loved one. Not only will you make a difference in that person’s life, but your loved one will also be happy you did this as a way to celebrate their birthday.
Go for handmade gifts
Store-bought gifts aren’t always the best. Studies have shown that people find homemade items more meaningful than mass-produced items, and the reason for it is that homemade items express more love.
Handmade gifts are one-of-a-kind, and there are endless possibilities for how you can personalise them. They are also thoughtful since you put time and effort into making them truly special. Plus, since they are unique, your loved one will have something that no one else has – which can be very exciting!
Put some thought into the wrapping part
Packaging is essential because it can make or break the gift. It is a way to express care, and it also builds excitement. You probably already know that first impressions impact your attitude to things and people. So, gift wrapping influences the recipient’s first impression of the gift and the giver. In fact, an unwrapped gift can appear as a lack of effort and even disrespect.
A wrapped gift builds curiosity and anticipation. Putting some thought into packaging means adding magic and surprise to the moment when the recipient unwraps their gift. You can use a double-sided satin ribbon and magnificent wrapping paper to make the packaging look gorgeous. Luckily, more and more shops and retailers consider this part significant. If you don’t have time to wrap the gift yourself, you can go to a store, as many of them provide packaging services.
Give a memorable experience instead of an object
This is a golden rule of gifts – rather than giving items to your loved ones, provide the opportunity to make unforgettable memories. Experiences, such as a concert ticket, are more meaningful than objects because they make the recipient feel more connected to the person giving the gift.
Experiential gifts evoke strong emotional responses, like excitement or awe. So, consider giving your loved one an experience. It can be a museum exhibit, a yoga class, a planned trip, or anything else you think will make the recipient happy.
Write them a note
When it comes to meaningful gifts, a letter or note is always an excellent idea. You write what you feel about the other person, thus, letting them know how much you love and care about them. Tell your loved ones what makes them special and how they impacted your life. They will undoubtedly be delighted to learn how they changed your life.
Words are meaningful when they come from the heart. While it’s true that your loved ones know they matter to you, it’s still important to express your feelings.