‘Tis the season of joy! It’s the season where you spend time with your loved ones and give gifts to show your appreciation and love. Though gift-giving is not the only way to show your admiration and love for those around you over the holidays, it is a tradition that everyone enjoys! Well… to some degree. Finding the perfect gift for some is easy, while finding the perfect gift for others isn’t anything shy of stressful. Will they like it? Will they use it? Will they want to return it? Is there something better I can get them? These questions and dozens more fill the minds of holiday shoppers.
The team at BlackBoxx wants to make this season’s gift-giving process a bit more joy-filled, so we came up with 6 ways to give better this year…or next year, if you’re already over it. Let’s get started!
1. Think beyond the initial reveal.
Give them something they can actually use or experience in real life.
According to research published in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science , “gift givers tend to focus too much on the moment the present is unwrapped, whereas gift recipients, on the other hand, wish that givers would think more about how the present might be used after that initial reveal.” Yes, the excitement and joy on the recipients’ face is a feeling like no other. This isn’t to say that this reaction and this moment is not important or significant, but to truly give a gift that holds value one must also think about the moment after the gift has been unwrapped. How many times have you opened a gift and loved it, but found yourself putting it away in your closet and forgetting about it? This isn’t the type of gift you want to catch yourself giving! Sometimes the best type of gift you can give to avoid this is an experience gift. According to Business Insider, another 2014 study illustrates that givers generally choose materialistic items to give, while recipients, on the other hand, would be happier if you have them gifts that they can experience. For instance, maybe instead of purchasing the new iPhone for a loved one, give them tickets to a concert or a play that you know they would enjoy! Not only will you give them something that will allow them to create new memories and experiences, they may even tag you along!
2. Keep it simple. Give them what they ask for!
I know what some of you may be thinking, if it were that easy I wouldn’t be in this position! But when you think about it, it really is that easy. Though it may not seem like the most thoughtful gift idea to just give someone what was on their list of things they wanted, it will be appreciated more than you know. Not only have you saved this person the money by getting them whatever it was they asked for or knew they wanted, but it also saved them a trip to the store or the mall to get it! It also shows you pay attention. In a recent study of participants who were getting married and filled out a gift registry, almost all gift recipients had said, out of all the gifts they received, they rated the ones that were on their list as more thoughtful than those that were not on their list. Go figure! Yes, going outside of what one asks for shows that you have taken the time to think about what he or she would like and takes more effort. However, giving them something they asked for is more practical and thoughtful in the sense that you are giving them exactly what they want. Some of you might also be asking yourself, what if they don’t tell me what they want? Well this is a trickier situation, but you can still manage! Just because someone does not come forward and ask for something, doesn’t mean you can’t figure it out. Throughout the year, especially if you accompany someone for a long enough time, he or she will drop hints on what they desire. For example, you could be watching a TV show with your friend and a commercial comes on and she says “that is such a great idea, I would love that,” or you may be at work and your co-worker mentions something that he is running low on. These tiny instances can accumulate throughout the year and before you know it you have a mental note of a list of gifts that the recipient has asked for subconsciously!
3. Extravagancy may not translate as well as you think.
We all have that certain someone we would really like to spoil over the holidays. Whether it’s your significant other, your best friend, your parents, your sibling, or your children, there is always that one person that you really want to feel special. When thinking of what to get these individuals, some people automatically think that the more extravagant the present, the better the person will feel. Well, we are here to tell you it could be the complete opposite. We are not here to say that you should completely stay away from extravagancy because it is warranted on occasion. However, a study conducted by The Journal of Consumer Research showed that all participants preferred to receive a practical and convenient present versus that of extravagance. Think about it…sometimes, the fancier the gift, the more effort it takes to use or experience it. For example, you may buy someone a gift card to one of the nicest restaurants in town, but it might be a longer drive than they prefer or additional cost to hire a babysitter for their night out. One thing to always keep in mind is, particularly in this day in age, often times the best gifts of all is that of convenience. We all want to make our lives simpler, so be weary of this when you are choosing the perfect gift for your loved ones.
4. Don’t be hesitant to give the same
present to numerous people.
Personalization doesn’t have to be stressful.
One of the largest hurdles we face when gift shopping is making sure that every gift is unique for each recipient. We have a little word of advice for you. It’s completely OK to give the same gift to different people. For example, books, candles, gift certificates, clothing, and accessories are all great gifts that can be personalized or bought in different varieties to make them feel special. By buying the same gift for different people, you are not only saving yourself a lot of time, but you are also avoiding the terrifying possibility of giving that one friend a better gift than the other. So go ahead, get 15 different scents, 12 different gift certificates to their favorite stores, or even the same sweater or jacket in different colours. And a partridge and a pear tree.
5. Keep it even simpler. Give money.
There’s lots of creative ways to hand it over.
It has already been mentioned that holiday gift giving shouldn’t be centered around materialism. It is really all about the thought and the experience of the gift. With that said, however, we can admit that sometimes there are too many factors that get in the way of gift-giving and sometimes the simplest solution is to give money. This gift idea not only saves you hardship in choosing the perfect gift, but it also gives the recipient autonomy to choose what they want as a gift. I don’t know if I have ever heard someone be upset or angry about receiving money as a holiday gift. It presents them the opportunity to get themselves something that they may have not asked for, or even to help them save up for a larger purchase in the future. Don’t want to just hand over the green? Send a card with the cash loaded on it…and, of course, send a little note to let them know you know the kinds of goals they have or what’s important to them at the moment. This is sure to be a hit with newlyweds, recent grads and college students.
6. Remember what the holiday season is all
about – giving.
‘Tis the season.
Through all the craziness of finding the “perfect” gift, making sure everyone is accounted for, and scheduling your online ordering so everything is delivered in time, don’t forget the main reason that the holiday season is so special in the first place. Giving is not just about the monetary value of the gift, it is about the feelings that are shared between everyone involved. The most obvious person that is involved is, of course, the recipient. You want to make sure that you give them something that will give them memories for seasons to come. The second person involved is you! Not a lot of us will admit it, but one of the reasons we give and strive so hard to find the perfect gift is because it makes us feel good to give. When you’re stressed from searching for the perfect gift, remember this: if you feel good about what you’re giving, that’s all that matters! Whether it is a brand new car or a brand new bike, an all-inclusive vacation or a trip to the movies, you’re giving something you’re proud to give, and that is what the holiday season is all about.