Scientists have studied gift giving and some of the findings may be useful since they are counter-intuitive.
- Research shows you can go right ahead and re-gift it a gift without shame. The giver probably won’t mind.
- Thoughtful gifts don’t necessarily lead to greater appreciation …. The benefit of a thoughtful gift actually accrues mainly to the giver, who derives a feeling of closeness to the other person.
- People are more appreciative when they receive a gift they have explicitly requested.
- Spending more money on a gift doesn’t necessarily translate into greater appreciation.
- Money Management International, a nonprofit that helps people facing financial difficulties, has run a Regiftable.com website for more than five years and declared the third Thursday in December to be National Regifting Day, to coincide with many holiday office parties. At least one state, Colorado, has officially sanctioned an annual regifting day.
“The secret to being a good gift giver…is to give them what they want,” says Dr. Epley, from the University of Chicago.
Dr. Epley says that after his wife gave birth to their second child, he spent a lot of time dreaming up what he thought was the perfect Christmas gift for her: a behind-the-scenes day as a trainer at the Chicago aquarium. “She loves marine animals, I thought this would be the best thing for her,” he says.
Instead, he says, “She hated the gift. The idea of squeezing into a Neoprene wetsuit a month after giving birth and holding a stinky fish over a penguin or a dolphin was the last thing she wanted to do.” She returned the gift.
Now, Dr. Epley says he asks his wife to tell him what she wants before the holiday season. She presented him with a list last week.