Gift giving can cause anxiety for some people: they can feel self-conscious or even judgement about their gift. Highly empathetic people can also feel anxiety: they spend a lot of time thinking about the “perfect gift” and are worried that it may reflect how much they care about someone.
Here are 3 tips to survive the gifting season.
1. If you want to be happy, you’re better off spending $5 on a friend than you are $20 on yourself, according to one study.
Why? When you spend money on other people there are two benefits: the social act of spending time with another person combined with the altruistic act of doing something nice for another person.
2. Give an Experience
WHY? Experiential gifts improves relationships significantly more than material gifts.
Study: Participants were recruited together with a friend (one person was the gift giver and the other a recipient). Gift givers were given $15 and instructed to buy either an experiential gift or material gift for their friend. Experiential gifts included a pass to a barre class and movie tickets, while material gifts included a shirt, a poster, and a wine aerator.
Men give with more tactical motivations, such as creating a good impression, displaying financial resources or as a means for seduction
3. To wrap or not to wrap?
Depends if you are a friend or an acquaintance.
Friend: A gift that is sloppily wrapped is liked significantly more than a neatly-wrapped one. This is because sloppy wrapping sets low expectations, which are then easily exceeded by the gift.
Acquaintance: No to the sloppily-wrapped gift: because wrapping neatness “serves as a cue about the relationship rather than the gift itself.”