Entries in gift giving (12)

Friday
Feb052016

Giving the Gift of an Experience this Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching. While many people are looking forward to showing their partners how much they are loved by exchanging gifts, others are filled with anxiety in trying to pick out the perfect item. You can hardly walk down the street without being bombarded by store windows featuring giant people-sized teddy bears and equally large heart shaped boxes of chocolate. For those in relationships, picking out the perfect present is of utmost importance, as the gift ideally symbolizes our love for the other person. This is because “gift-giving involves both the objective value of a gift and the symbolic meaning of the exchange.”1 Before making your final decision between jewelry or something practical like a pair of winter gloves, consider giving your partner an experience.

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Tuesday
Feb102015

Survey Says: What Do Men Want for Valentine's Day?

In a prior post we told you what gifts were identifed as the perfect gifts for women on Valentine's Day. Now it's the guys' turn....

Again, we asked our survey respondents:

What is the perfect Valentine's Day gift for a man to receive?

The #1 most preferred gift men want for Valentine’s Day

S-E-X. A whopping 46% of our male respondents indicated that the perfect gift for them on Valentine’s Day is sex.

And we won’t go into all the gory details, but some guys were quite specific regarding exactly what type of sex they have in mind. My eyes still burn. Think what you want, but at least it’s free, right

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Thursday
Feb052015

Survey Says: How Do People Prefer to Receive Valentine's Day Gifts

One of the reasons people indicated that they hate Valentine’s Day is because it’s too commercial. The vast majority of our survey respondents indicated that some form of gift is expected (88%). So we wanted to know (a) how people prefer to receive their gifts and (b) what types of gifts they prefer. Below, I address the first question. Stay tuned for a breakdown of gift preferences in subsequent posts.

How do people prefer to receive gifts?

Do people want to flaunt their Valentine’s Day riches by receiving a gift in public? Or is it best to receive a gift privately? The vast majority (65%) of those surveyed preferred a private gift. One-third of our respondents indicated they had no preference --- public or private is fine. If you’re adding up the numbers, it should be clear that very few people prefer to receive their gift in a public setting; less than 2% of those surveyed opted for a flaunt what you got approach.

So if you’re on the fence about giving your gift during an intimate one-on-one moment vs. sending a singing Valentine-A-Gram to your not-so-secret Valentine’s place of work, opt for the more personal approach. It’s the safest route (worst case scenario, you’ll find out whether your partner is one of the 2%).

Wednesday
Dec172014

All I Want for Christmas is You: The Science of Gift Giving

Each year around mid-November, business owners begin to lick their chops: the next month will arguably be their busiest and most profitable. Last year, for example, Americans spent over $52 billion during the Thanksgiving weekend alone.1 Although large portions of these purchases are surely self-indulging, people also make a lot of purchases to take care of gift shopping for the upcoming holiday season.

Gift giving seems to be a biologically natural phenomenon across a range of species and targets – even organisms as simple as insects feel the need to get in on the giving. Male crickets, for example, gift their sexual partners with a nutritious treat to prevent them from prematurely consuming their sperm ampulla—essentially a big bag of sperm—after mating.2 Insect gift giving extends beyond sexual partners as well: burying beetles provide their young larvae with a tasty carcass to feed on and live in.3

Similarly, humans often provide their loved ones—children, mates, or otherwise—with an assortment of presents. Thankfully, these gifts tend to be less disgusting than those given by our insect counterparts. Although you may look forward to exchanging gifts with your loved ones this time of year, it’s worth asking: is gift giving good for relationships, or is it possible for gift giving to somehow harm close relationships?

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Monday
Feb102014

How Much Should You Spend on Your Partner for Valentine’s Day?

Valentine’s Day is what it is. At its best, Valentine’s Day is a day where you can be a little extra romantic and take the opportunity to celebrate your relationship. At its worst, it is an overly commercialized “Hallmark holiday” with too much of an emphasis on chocolates, flowers, and pushy jewelry advertisements. Think what you want, but if you’re in a relationship, you should probably be thinking about what to get your partner.

You need a gift. You can read here about what to get or here to read about bad gifts to avoid. But how do you figure out how much you should spend on that gift?  You could take a guess, ask a few friends, or you could do what we did and survey over 1000 people in the United States. (Click here for more details about our survey) Here’s what we found out...

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Friday
Feb082013

To the Love of My Life: Motivations for Gift-Giving on Valentine’s Day

I’ve received a gift on Valentine’s Day once in the past ten years. I wouldn’t consider my lackluster gift count so remarkable if I were perpetually single, but I have been romantically involved with someone on every single Valentine’s Day in the last decade! In contrast to my former partners, I derive a ridiculous amount of pleasure from giving people presents. Although I hardly need a reason to buy someone a gift (“It’s Tuesday? Cool; here’s the box set of Top Gear you said you wanted”), Valentine’s Day offers the perfect excuse for me to indulge my gift-giving fancy.

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Thursday
Feb072013

The Perfect Valentine’s Day Date: Keep it Warm and Heavy

There is a lot of pressure to impress your romantic partner with a fabulous Valentine’s Day date (I should know – Valentine’s Day is also my wife’s birthday!). If you decide to go to a fancy restaurant, how do you know which cuisine to choose? Should you go with spicy Thai or cold sushi? If you’re going to buy your partner a gift, do you choose something practical and imminently useful but unromantic (the Science of Relationships book?) or should you instead go with something useless but romantic (a stuffed teddy bear holding a satin pillow shaped like a heart with “Valentine’s Without You Would be Un-Bear-able” written on it?). Or, if you’re going to get your sweetie something, well, sweet, should you choose the heart-shaped box of chocolates that is the candy equivalent of Russian Roulette or should you buy some specialty hot cocoa?

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Friday
Dec142012

All I Want for Christmas is You: The Science of Gift Giving

Each year around mid-November, business owners begin to lick their chops: the next month will arguably be their busiest and most profitable. Last year, for example, Americans spent over $52 billion during the Thanksgiving weekend alone.1 Although large portions of these purchases are surely self-indulging, people also make a lot of purchases to take care of gift shopping for the upcoming holiday season.

Gift giving seems to be a biologically natural phenomenon across a range of species and targets – even organisms as simple as insects feel the need to get in on the giving.

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Friday
Dec142012

The Lover’s Guide to Surviving Holiday Gift-Giving

It’s that time of the year again - streets coloured with festive decorations, malls ringing with well-known holiday music, and shops filled with people wandering aimlessly in search of the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I, for one, struggle every year to find that special present that will give my boyfriend a big smile under the holiday lights. I’m sure I’m not the only one who suffers from this pre-holiday shopping stress. To add to my stress, research confirms what we probably all know already: gift-giving has a significant impact on romantic relationships.

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Thursday
Dec132012

Regifting: A Gift-Giver’s Hidden Shame

Ever get a gift that was so perfect for you that you actually already had the gifted item? Or maybe you received a gift that was so awful that you wondered if the giver knew you at all. (Sure, it’s the thought that counts, but what were they thinking?!) These are the times when gift receipts and generous store return policies come in handy. But if exchanges aren’t allowed, we may find ourselves contemplating “regifting” (i.e., giving the unwanted gift to someone else), especially with National Regifting Day approaching on the Thursday before Christmas. We may feel ashamed or opportunistic, however, about presenting someone with a gift we didn’t want ourselves in light of the distinct social taboo against the practice of regifting. (Remember Elaine’s indignant “He recycled this gift! He’s a regifter!” on Seinfeld?). Is this worry justified?

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Wednesday
Oct102012

Body and Mind: How Seemingly Unrelated Physical Experiences Affect Our Relationships

What if I told you that simply holding a cup of hot coffee leads you to perceive others more positively?  Seems like crazy talk, right? Well, it may not be so crazy after all.

Embodied cognition (also called embodiment) is an emerging research area in psychology. Embodiment is the theory that there is a strong association between physical experiences and psychological states.

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Tuesday
Feb072012

Valentine’s Day Gifts: Pleasure or Obligation?

image source: askmen.comDo you enjoy giving Valentine’s Day gifts? Or is it an unpleasant obligation? Your feelings about giving presents depends on your attachment style. Across two studies, secure people reported that giving gifts to partners was more pleasurable and not done out of obligation. Conversely, people high in avoidance experienced less pleasure, whereas those high in anxiety felt more obligated to give gifts, possibly because they feared losing their partners when their relationships weren’t going well.

Nguyen, H. P., & Munch, J. M. (2011). Romantic gift giving as a chore or pleasure: The effects of attachment orientations on gift giving perceptions. Journal of Business Research, 64, 113-118.