Psychology Explains Why We’re Bad at Giving Christmas Gifts


Exchanging gifts is one of the most exciting pat of the Christmas season which is why everybody feels obsessed about holiday gift shopping for friends and loved ones. It's delighting to see them eagerly unwrapping Christmas presents to reveal what's inside. However, sometimes we make wrong choices about the gifts we give. And in order to understand what makes you a better gift giver, psychologists at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University and the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, explained that givers should not focus on the moment of exchanging gifts but rather on the value of the gifts for the recipients.

The researchers pointed out that most of the time, gift givers would choose gifts that they think are highly desirable like expensive gadgets. Another 2014 study also indicated that instead of giving experiential gifts like tickets to an event or concert, the givers generally choose material things.

According to study co-author Elanor Williams, a marketing professor at Indiana University Bloomington, the reason why people often time struggle with predicting preferences of the recipients is because of our own egocentricity. She explained that we have a tendency to just focus on our personal points of view instead of considering the views of other people.

Other researchers Williams and co-author Jeff Galak, a marketing professor at Carnegie Mellon University, also explained similar reason. They said that our only focus is the moment of exchange when we see the recipient delight in the joy of opening their presents but fail to ask ourselves if the gift is going to be useful for them. They also said that most gift givers fail to think if the gift is wanted or if it will be stuck in a corner in the house and will be left unused.

So the next time you are shopping for gifts, let your loved ones enjoy the value of your gifts by giving them something useful for long term or something memorable they will surely cherish for the rest of their lives.

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