Dattaraj is a science writer. He writes about health, psychology and fitness. He's also a film buff and writers articles about films.
There’s no excuse for being a bad gifter in this internet age. Just a few years ago finding a proper gift would take considerably more physical effort than it does today. All you have to do today is press some keys and move a cursor to find and buy a thing that will be delivered to your doorstep. And if that’s too much work for you, those voice operated AIs everyone’s buying, like toilet paper in a pandemic, will do it for you at your command. I’ve even read stories about kids accidentally ordering a bunch of expensive stuff to the surprise of their parents.
When it comes to gifts people seem to have high expectations now. There’s just more competition among gifters to be better. Although all the research that has been done on this field has provided us with insights that make the process of finding the ideal gift for your loved ones easier.
Following are some ways you can make sure you pick better gifts for your receiver in less time and effort so that you spend that time doing things you want to do. Maybe learn that second language you always wanted to learn or maybe start writing that book you always wanted to write.
1. Target Your Gift to Suit Your Recipient's Desire
Casanova was one of the most famous seducers in history. He was known for the meticulously designed strategies he used when courting a woman he desired. He studied his targets and their psyches and molded his personality to meet their ideals. He would buy them the gifts they wanted even without them telling him their wishes. He would take them to places they desired and would say what they want to hear.
He essentially acted as a mirror that reflected women's desires back to them.
I’m not going to tell you to spend your time on learning the art of seduction but there are a few lessons to be learned from Casanova. First, what works on one person will not necessarily work on someone else, and second, a little time spent on considering your recipient’s desires will go a long way.
Know your target. Don’t go on a mission to find an Oscar winning gift for someone you barely know. It’s needy. And I’ll explain more in my third tip. But if you know your receiver well enough you’ll have some understanding of their personality and interests you can use that to pick a gift that they’ll like.
Also, if they have a cool job which they take pride in, find something that’s related to that. For instance if your receiver is a drummer, professional or part time, you can gift them a drum themed gift, like a drummer bobblehead or a cool t-shirt designed for drummers. Although don’t buy them equipment or accessories. Professionals are usually very specific about their choice of equipment, so your present will likely end up in the basement forever.
If you know their interests and hobbies find a gift related to that and that they can use. If, for example, they’re into history use that to pick a gift. It can be an interesting book they might have not read (Don’t give them an encyclopedia of modern American History. That stuff is too unremarkable for a gift and it makes it seem like you haven’t put any effort into the process.) Maybe a fascinating documentary about the secrets of a lost civilization or even a card game designed for history buffs.
The idea is to find something that relates to the things that are important to them. Something that connects with their personality.
2. Your Gift Shouldn’t be Too Practical
Practical gifts work. Anything your recipient can put to use will be appreciated. That doesn’t mean that a gift’s usefulness is all you should be considering when buying it.
While gifting a microwave oven to a newly married couple in the process of setting up a new home is a great idea, gifting one to your girlfriend on an anniversary is not.
Let’s say you are trying to pick a gift for a guitar player, you could go for a piece of equipment they can put to use, but it won’t be any different from anything they could buy in a store themselves. Also, most professionals are very picky about this stuff and would rather pick the equipment of their own choosing. Instead you should gift them something that is indeed useful but also appealing. A guitar shaped lantern for example, or even a pendant that’s shaped like a guitar are both practical and charming.
Gifts should be practical in a sense that a portable table tennis set is practical. Using it will likely be a fun experience for the recipient and add some happiness to their lives. Also, things like cool headphones, a nice watch, an engraved keychain will work. They’re practical yet desirable.
This advice applies to both sexes but more so for women. Your choice of gift can be more on the practical side when it comes to men and vice versa.
Link to the study
- Experiential Gifts Foster Stronger Social Relationships Than Material Gifts | Journal of Consumer Re
Abstract. Interpersonal relationships are essential to well-being, and gifts are often given to cultivate these relationships. To inform gift givers of what to
3. Be Thoughtful But Don’t Overthink It
Life is short and you shouldn’t waste whatever time you have left on this planet obsessing over whether to gift your second cousin a remote control T-Rex or The Rolling Stones cover set.
When it comes to people you care about, use the previous tips to find a reasonably likeable gift that you’ve put some thought into and for everyone else just gift them something they won’t hate.
Being too thoughtful in your choice of a present when it’s for someone you don’t know well will make you seem needy and come off as you trying too hard to impress. It doesn’t work.
Also, if you’ve found two or three options you like, don’t spend a lot of time trying to pick the best one. I trust your instincts, just pick one and don’t worry about it.
Decision panicking kicks in if you spend too long trying to decide between different options. Also, it will drain your willpower and you’ll be grumpy for the rest of the day.
If you’re having trouble, try imagining Shea Beowulf yelling at you, “Just do it!” That works for some people.
Being a good gifter is not that hard if you keep a few simple things in mind. And your intention should never be to impress someone’s hat off. Just try to find something that’ll bring a tiny bit of joy to your recipient's life.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2020 Dattaraj