Gift giving can be mentally tasking. At times choosing an undesirable gift can be kind of risky and sometimes can negatively impact the receiver’s perception of a relationship’s future potential. How then can you be sure to choose a gift the receiver will love? Psychology may have the answer🤞🏾. But first things first you have to pick a side, material or experiential gifts?

Material Vs Experential 

Material gifts are objects to be kept in the recipient’s possession (e.g., jewelry or electronic gadgets) while experiential gifts are experiences or an event that the recipient lives through (e.g., concert tickets or a photography lesson). It has been observed that buying an experience is typically more personally beneficial than buying a material good. Acquiring an experience over a possession stem from the fact that experiences are more likely to be shared with others. Here are a few things to consider #leggo. 


Research has actually shown that spending more does not always guarantee a well-received gift. Some givers think spending more conveys more thoughtfulness, receivers do not necessarily associate the price with their level of appreciation. Agreed you may have to hit a certain price threshold due to tradition or expectations. But once you meet that cost bracket, it doesn’t matter if you buy something more valuable. The gift itself is what matters most.

Who is the recepient to you?

Is this person an immediate family member? A best friend? A new friend? A significant other? Your emotional proximity will likely determine how personal and sizable the gift will be. Which is to say you don’t need to book a spa package for a new friend even if they really, really need to relax. Start with a stress ball.

Think longer term

The trick for giving a great gift is to think past the fleeting moment of actually handing it over. Researchers say “When givers give gifts, they’re trying to optimise on the moment they give the gift and see the smile on the recipient’s face right in that moment”. “But what recipients care about is how much value they’re going to derive from that over a longer time period”. In other words, it might not be exciting to watch a friend or family member open the gift of a Netflix or DSTV subscription, so you might be less likely to give one. But a recipient may actually love it, since it’s a gift that can be enjoyed often over time.

Forget about uniqueness:

One study showed that we tend to focus on a recipient’s unique traits and personality as we shop for them. But thus hyper-specificity leads us to blur out the other aspects of their wants and needs, which may make us to buy them an inferior gift. That said don’t be overly practical. The point is to delight not to restock your significant others toilet paper stash…

Buy based on shared interests

To shop better you might want to start with something you have in common with the recipient. Focus on the reason you and your recipient are connected and how far your relationship has come. What would you want? It’s possible that something on your wish list would make a great gift for them. If the primary facet of your relationship is humor there’s nothing wrong with a link to Trevor noah’s latest stand up or actual tickets… What!!!

Ask them what they want

Research shows that people are more appreciative of gifts they ask for than ones they don’t. The simplest way to make a person happy with a gift is asking them what they want. When someone says they want something, listen. There’s nothing quite like finally getting the thing you’ve been hinting at for months.

Don’t overthink it

Like most things in life it’s never that deep. So don’t fret too much about giving a terrible gift: truly bad gifts are rare. Unless something is wildly inappropriate, the recipient will feel some level of appreciation.




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