Gift giving

You unwrap the thin reindeer-covered box and notice the familiar brown of an Amazon package. After tearing the tape off the corners, you reveal a pair of socks bedecked in a pattern of mini Tabasco bottles. To boot, the size is L. You’re M. Your pal looks at you with expectation as you feign a smile through gritted teeth.

“Thanks, Jimbo,” you say, mustering what little resolve you have left in the tank. A flutter of fear flashes across his face and he knows he goofed.

Finding this scenario relatable? A 2021 survey conducted by The National Retail Federation1 indicates that the rate of gift returns shot up from 10.6% in 2020 to 16.6% in 2021. Seems that many Americans miss the mark on what they think others will like and what they truly enjoy. So, how can we give gifts that last the test of time? Below are a few tips on giving a great gift during the holidays:

  1. It might be a good idea to take time to reflect on the receiver’s personality type. A recent NPR report says that catering your gift to someone who is either into experiences, is practical, sentimental, cozy, or just an enigma to you can go a long way toward getting something that they will enjoy2.
  2. Consider giving an experience rather than a gift. Many times, givers tend to focus on the receiver’s immediate reaction, and more often than not, buy tangible items that can be used or consumed immediately, rather than a gift that takes longer to enjoy. However, a recent study has shown that doing this may be of greater benefit to the receiver in the long run3.
  3. Give a gift that has sentimental value! What experiences have you and the receiver had that you both cherish? Giving a gift that speaks to that relationship may sound risky, but will more than likely result in a better outcome than a gift that just caters to what you think the receiver’s preferences are4.

All this being said, simply showing someone that you care this season goes a long way. Just giving your time to give that call to a distant friend or relative may be the best gift of all.

Wishing you a wonderful Holiday season filled with fun, family, friends, and joy!

  1. https://nrf.com/media-center/press-releases/nrf-predicts-healthy-holiday-sales-consumers-navigate-economic
  2. https://www.npr.org/2022/12/14/1142750086/christmas-gift-giving-guide
  3. https://myscp.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jcpy.1318
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S105774081730044X

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