Thursday, August 29, 2013

Feeling when you receive a gift

Some gift givers spend time and energy trying to find just the right gift. But thoughtful gifts don't necessarily lead to greater appreciation, according to a study published in November in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. The benefit of a thoughtful gift actually accrues mainly to the giver, who derives a feeling of closeness to the other person, the study found.

People are more appreciative when they receive a gift they have explicitly requested, according to a similar study published last year in a separate publication called the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

"Everyone has been a giver and receiver often in the past," says Francis Flynn, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, who has done research in the field of gift giving. Despite knowing what these roles feel like, people often fail, for instance, to draw on the experience of being a recipient when they are shopping for a gift to give, he says.

Regifting, once a social taboo, is gradually gaining in acceptance. According to a nationwide consumer-spending survey by American Express, 58% of people believe it is OK sometimes to regift an item. That figure rises for the holiday season, when 79% of respondents said they believe regifting is socially acceptable. The survey, which polled about 2,000 people last year, found that nearly one-quarter of consumers said they regifted at least one item the previous holiday season.

Regifting can lead to awkward moments. Humera Sayeed, a graduate student at Loyola University Chicago, received a brown leather Marc Jacobs purse from her aunt last year. The 26-year-old says she appreciated the high-quality purse but it wasn't exactly her taste.

"I thought, 'You know, I know someone else would like it more than I would.' So I gave it to one of my friends for her birthday," Ms. Sayeed says. About six months later, the friend came over to Ms. Sayeed's aunt's house, purse in hand, and the aunt exclaimed, "You know, Humera has a purse just like that!"

"I said, 'You know Auntie, I loved it so much that I got her the same one,' " Ms. Sayeed fibbed. "I had a moment to probably come clean about it and I just decided it would be better not to, which I guess is why people feel sneaky about regifting."

In the study of regifting, researchers conducted five separate experiments involving nearly 500 people in both real and imagined scenarios. The reason people weren't overly bothered when their gifts were later regifted was because they generally believed the recipient was free to decide what to do with an item. On the other hand, regifters were fearful of offending because they believed the original giver should retain some say in how the gifts were used.

The different points of view held true regardless of whether the gift givers and receivers were friends. The relative desirability of the gift also didn't affect the findings. When the researchers introduced the concept of a national holiday for regifting into the experiments, participants were more likely to give away their gifts.

There are efforts to promote regifting. Money Management International, a nonprofit that helps people facing financial difficulties, has run a 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.

"Regifting isn't a bad thing, it's not quite as offensive as people might think it is," says Gabrielle Adams, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at the London Business School and a co-author of the recent study in Psychological Science.

Sharon Love, who heads a retail marketing agency, says she frequently regifts an item if she feels it is appropriate for another person. But she says she tries to be upfront about it.

Ms. Love, who lives in New York City, says she once received an entertainment and etiquette book that was clearly regifted: The book contained an inscription made out to the giver. "It did kind of make me mad, so I just kind of regifted it the following year back to him," she says. Ms. Love says she received a thank-you card in return.

The adage "It's the thought that counts" was largely debunked by the recent study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, which concluded that gift givers are better off choosing gifts that receivers actually desire rather than spending a lot of time and energy shopping for what they perceive to be a thoughtful gift. The study found thoughtfulness doesn't increase a recipient's appreciation if the gift is a desirable one. In fact, thoughtfulness only seemed to count when a friend gives a gift that is disliked.

"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 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.

Write to Sumathi Reddy at

The perfect gift idea

How often have you been stuck for the perfect gift idea for the people in your life?  Your boyfriend or girlfriend, fiancĂ© or fiancĂ©e, husband or wife, mum and dad and other members of your family.  What can you buy to the person that has almost everything?

Like us, you will come across this problem a few times a year.  Birthdays, anniversaries, new arrivals, Christmas, Mother's day and Father's day... There is always an occasion that will have you confused about what to get .

Gifts For Him
Finding a great gift for the man in your life for an occasion such as a Birthday or Christmas can be a struggle, especially if they are the kind of guy that has everything already.

Traditional gifts for men are things like aftershave, a bottle of their favorite tipple or accessories for their chosen sport. A great Christmas gift or Birthday gift however, can be something a little out of the ordinary such as an experience gift certificate. With hundreds of different experiences spread across the country there is bound to be something the man in your life would love to do. From fishing trips on the Colorado River to taking the controls of a Steam train! So, for his next unique gift, explore the possibilities an experience gift certificate can bring and get him an unusual gift that is guaranteed to be remembered. The excitement and enjoyment of experiencing something new is a memory that will stay with him for a long time and will no doubt whet his appetite for other exciting experiences.

You could even get him something you can share together such as a rock climbing lesson or a cookery course so you can take when you have learnt and enjoy a new hobby together for years to come. (Xperience an experience gift certificate for everyone and is sure to be the best gift they receive on their big day!

Gifts For Women
Buying the perfect gift for the ladies in your life is often trickier than it sounds as sizing and color options can create a minefield of possible mistakes. experience Days holds the answer to get around this situation in the guise of an experience gift certificate which will be gleefully received whatever the occasion, be it her birthday gift, Christmas present or just a thank you gift.
With hundreds of great experience’s spread across the country you are sure to find a unique gift for her to enjoy and experience something new. Why not give her an experience day exploring the culture and history behind the famous chocolate shops in Boston or scenic flight over the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains instead of the usual perfume or box of chocolates.
An experience gift certificate is guaranteed to be an experience they will remember for ever as experiencing something new is one of the most exciting feelings, and is sure to be received gratefully. You could choose an experience gift card that will allow you to enjoy the experience together, or allow them to take a friend, such as a dinner cruise for two as a gift for your wife or a scenic train ride as a gift for your sister or mom.

The Gifts

The Gifts

The gifts are material items which are made or obtained, then given to represent various sentiments. Gift giving can be random, or may correlate with a special event, social occasion, achievement or holiday. Some gifts may simply represent remembrance or commemoration while others celebrate a momentous occurrence or rite of passage such as a birthday, graduation, anniversary, promotion or new home. Newlyweds setting up a household may enroll in a gift registry which helps family and friends select wanted and needed items to gift. While graduates may prefer a gift card containing currency which they can spend when they arrive to their new school, job or lifestyle.
Often gift giving is an expression of courtesy. However there are times when gifts are given under specific circumstances and may be part of a traditional exchange or ritual. The ritual of Japanese wedding gifts, for example, dictates that the bride and groom provide hand crafted gifts to wedding guests. While gifts require some degree of monetary expenditure, some creative gift giving ideas may save money. It can be difficult to spend the mental energy, not to mention money, on finding the perfect gift. Sometimes a gift guide, specialty shop or distinctive website can provide the inspiration to find gifts and enjoy the process of giving while fulfilling an obligation. Gift giving opportunities include all holidays and personal Special occasion like birthday etc...

Handmade gifts

Money isn't excuse to bring a gift,  handmade gift are sometime more special . According to Threadbanger, holiday time is the perfect time for hand made and artistic gifts. Also mentioned is the website Etsy which artists can display and sell their creations on. Etsy features hundreds of hand crafted gift options.

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Brainstorm Gift Ideas

 Brainstorm Gift Ideas

Find Out What the Person is Interested in

  • When it comes to gift-giving, it really is the thought that counts. A great gift demonstrates that you've given some thought to a person and his or her interests. If you're not sure where to start, try the following:
  1. Pay Attention: The best gifts are the most thoughtful gifts. Consider the person on your list. What does he or she like? What will make that person feel like he or she is appreciated and not just a holiday chore to cross off a list? Consider the following areas of interest: Films, Books, Music, Travel, Food, Hobbies, Sports, etc.
  2. Go Snooping Online: Check out the gift recipient's  Facebook page. Does the person have an  ">
com/amazon" style="background-color: transparent; border: 0px; color: #3b6eae; margin: 0px; outline: 0px; padding: 0px; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Amazon wish list or Netflix queue? Snoop around to find out what he or she likes.
  • Ask a Third Party: If you're playing Secret Santa and don't know what to give, ask the person's closest friends and colleagues what he or she might like.

    • Now that you have a general sense of what the gift recipient's general areas of interest are, you need to come up with a few killer gift ideas. Here are some tips to get you started:
    1. Visit Gift Idea Websites: Several websites exist just to generate gift ideas according to a person's interests or relationship to you. Check  Mahalo's own Guide to Gifts for ideas.
    2. Create a Package Gift: A package gift is a collection of related items. For instance, a bottle of wine, a fancy corkscrew and a pair of goblets. A package gift doesn't have to be expensive, but it shows that you put some consideration into assembling the gift.
    3. Buy Novel Gifts from Unexpected Places: There are lots of great websites that sell unique, inexpensive gifts that you can't find anywhere else. Who doesn't need a tub of mini ninjas or a Transfarmers t-shirt? Check out Threadless for hip, well-designed t-shirts; Etsy for handmade crafts; Archie McPhee and Fred Flare for fun, novelty items and, of course, eBay for everything else.
    4. Make Your Gift: Nothing shows your love more than baking it into a homemade pie. There are dozens of great gifts that require more time than money. Why not whip up a mix CD, write a heartfelt letter or dream up a holiday scavenger hunt for your friends?
    5. Give the Gift of Experience: Who needs more stuff? Consider giving theater tickets, singing lessons, restaurant gift certificates or an action sports outing as gifts.
    6. Do Cool Things with Photos: Has your friend ever done anything with those 1,000s of photos in his or her Flickr account? Print and frame the best shots. Make a cross stitch pattern from them. Create an online scrapbook or comic book. Check out all the cool things you can do with photos at websites like Photojojo and Moo Cards.
    7. Buy Artwork: You can purchase one-of-a-kind artwork for very little. Check out thePerry Bible Fellowship for signed prints of surreal comics, pop culture-inspired prints from Brandon Bird or original $20 prints from 20x200.
    8. Get Geeky: If you're technically inclined, check out MAKE Blog's Open Source Gift Guide and retrofit an old gadget for new gimmickry. Or, try downloading a program which records streaming audio, and put radio shows like This American Life, theSModcast or NPR's live concert recordings on CDs for friends.

    How to buy the perfect Gifts

    How to buy the perfect Gifts

    From edible undies to car vacuums – new research has shown that an awful lot of us are getting it completely wrong when it comes to buying our loved-ones the perfect gifts. But why are we so clueless – and how can we get it right?

    According to Patricia Davidson, author of the Shopaholics Guide to Buying Gorgeous Gifts, there is a simple knack to buying great gifts: research.
    When Tim, a 49-year-old accountant from North Yorkshire, recalls his biggest present-buying faux pas, he cringes. "I thought I was doing a good thing," he recalls. "In the run-up to her 40th birthday, my wife kept asking if she needed a facelift and multiple variations on that theme. Browsing the department store, I saw some expensive anti-aging cream advertising itself as a facelift in a bottle. I thought it was a stroke of genius. My wife literally threw it back in my face. Luckily, I ducked. One dint in the door later, I realised how my well-intentioned gift might have been misinterpreted."
    Sarah, 28, a PR account manager from London, also had a shock when her husband Lee, 33, got it wrong in the Christmas present-buying stakes. "It was our first Christmas together and he asked my dear dad for advice. Dad knows how bad my cooking is and suggested a microwave to save me going hungry when Lee was working evening shifts.
    "When I saw a huge, beautifully-wrapped box a few days before Christmas I couldn't stop guessing what it was. I said, 'please tell me it's not something useful, like a microwave'. My face was a picture on Christmas morning. Luckily, Lee whipped out the largest bottle of Chanel No5 known to man and a gorgeous gold necklace - a last minute shopping spree on the back of my microwave comment saved his bacon. He's never bought anything practical or taken advice from my dad again."
    Tim and Lee aren't the only Britons struggling to buy gifts for their loved ones. According to research by AE Platinum Cashback Credit Card, up to three quarters of British women say their partners get it wrong every time they buy them a gift – 4% of respondents even admitted 'romantic' gifts like battery chargers and staple guns had led to divorce or separation.
    "There are two reasons men get it wrong," explains Patricia Davidson author of the Shopaholic's Guide to Buying Gorgeous Gifts Online, "they either don't allow enough time or don't think about the person they are buying for. A present that isn't relevant to the recipient might as well not be given."
    The research by American Express Platinum Cashback Credit Card also reveals that men are just as likely to be presented with unwanted gifts such as hair dye, male make-up and car vacuums, with 10% of men polled saying they will sell unwanted gifts on e-Bay.
    Patricia agrees that women are not perfect present buyers. "They make exactly the same mistakes as men," she says. "The first gift I bought for my husband was a gorgeous sheepskin coat that I loved – but he didn't. He politely asked if he could take it back."
    According to Patricia, there is a simple knack to buying great gifts – research. "Think about things your partner buys for his or herself, as well as their personal style, hobbies and interests," says Patricia. "If you pay attention, it becomes obvious. Guessing causes the problems, and choosing gifts just because you like them is a no-no. Your own taste is irrelevant. If you're struggling, ask friends and family for hints and advice – but there's no substitute for your own research."
    In a recession, spending money on an appropriate and appreciated present is a sound financial transaction. The handbag your partner has been dreaming about for months, or a rare graphic novel by his favourite artist, is the way to go. "In this climate," says Patricia, "there's an argument for buying people things they need, as opposed to things they want. If money is short, a voucher may be appreciated, and treats like a side of salmon or bottle of champagne may work well for friends or family. Unless someone expressly asks for it, kitchen or household equipment is best avoided."
    Patricia says asking someone outright what they want is a "last resort" but urges gift-buyers to talk to the parents when choosing for other people's kids. "I don't even choose gifts for my own kids until I know exactly what they want," she admits.
    Once you're armed with information for the perfect present, the prospect of fighting with hoards of Christmas shoppers may fill you with dread. Patricia strongly recommends shopping online, allowing enough time for delivery, and ordering before stocks are depleted if you're buying a popular toy or video game.
    "Getting a gift wrong leaves both you and the recipient in an awkward position," Patricia says. "Getting it right on the other hand, and knowing how delighted your loved ones are with the gifts you've chosen, is a fabulous feeling."

    Wednesday, August 28, 2013

    How to Give Gifts Unconditionally

    Giving gifts unconditionally is not necessarily simple. Gift giving can sometimes feel like a chore that makes us resentful. Other times we give gifts in order to get something in return, even if it is simply the gratitude from the recipient. Seen in this light, we are really giving to get what Daniel Goleman terms a "narcissistic hit", something that isn't exactly motivated by altruism.

    How can we learn to give gifts without strings attached when we are accustomed to feeling either a sense of duty, or we want gratitude from others in return? Unconditional gift-giving starts by sharing a piece of yourself - your love or esteem and care for the other person shown by the time taken to select a gift in a considerate manner, and combining this with not wanting anything at all in return.

    Find a gift that means something about the other person to you. Be proud of what you choose. Don't just buy something because it is in the bargain bin or because it was the most expensive item in the store. Put effort, care and consideration into the purchase or creation of the gift. Making the gift yourself is definitely an option too, and is even more a "piece of you", so feel free to do so.

    Let it be a surprise. A gift prompted by persistent requests for it is not as exciting or fulfilling as a gift that is a total surprise. This does not mean that you cannot give things sorely needed by the recipient but how you will know this is by observing their life and knowing them, rather than heeding direct requests for items.

    Think beyond stuff. Stuff is all very nice and cute when wrapped up but stuff ends up drowning us. Sometimes, giving stuff is giving a burden to another person and the "condition" involved in such a gift is that the recipient puts up with shelving your stuff in their already over-crowded life. If you are gifting the "person-who-has-everything", avoid stuff. Consider alternatives that won't oblige the condition of adding to clutter on the recipient, gifts such as:

    A promise to visit monthly to take an elderly recipient to art galleries or botanical gardens;
    A service - nappy (diaper) washing service, house-cleaning service, car-wash etc.
    Plants for the garden that will produce food, scent, colour or shade
    A voucher for a massage, spa treatment, fitness class

    Think carefully about what the other person would not buy for themselves. If you give items that a person is already very adept at getting for themselves, muzzling in on this territory can be a means of invading it and substituting their sense of style with yours. Don't even bother; if you know the person well, you will know already what they do well enough without your help. Look instead for the things they'd never consider purchasing - like the red shoes with really high heels you overheard them pondering about but muttered that they couldn't afford, a trip to a spa resort that they would never think to slow down for normally, or a new food that is something they've never tried before etc.

    Let the recipient know gently and without great "hoo-ha" that your gift can be returned to a store, re-gifted, or donated if it doesn't make them feel comfortable or happy. You do not want to create a noose around their necks. If you ever had an experience growing up when someone in your family gave your family something hideous and it was ferreted out each time this person visited, you will know that the sense of obligation can turn gift-receiving into a burden rather than a delight.

    Avoid giving "useful" items that the whole household needs and will make use of. The toaster for mother on Mother's Day, the car-cleaning gear for dad... These things do service for everyone and are not gifts in the usual sense. An exception would be if you give something like the car-cleaning gear, include with it "coupons" the recipient can cash in to you to wash and wax the car for them. Otherwise, if you must produce such items as gifts, gift them to the house, the car, or the family as a whole. These sorts of items are just too impersonal to be true gifts and this makes them conditional--you are giving something provided that everyone else gets to use it.

    Expect nothing in return. You are giving because you want to. If you don't want to, then you need to reassess the point of what it is that you are really doing. Do not expect gratitude, smiles or something in return. Although most respectful and well-mannered people will demonstrate gratitude, there are times where this will not be forthcoming for one reason or other but that does not necessarily mean that the person doesn't respect your gift-giving or not appreciate it. Sometimes people are embarrassed, too surprised, shy, ashamed, or self-conscious to react in a gracious manner. If you have given with good heart, their reaction or lack of one should not bother you. Look deeper and you will see truly how the gift has been received.

    Be considerate about presentation. Wrapping and presenting the gift will show your sense of style and also that you have taken care to present your gift nicely, a demonstration of respect for the recipient. It doesn't have to be complex, and recyclability is de rigueur.

    If both the gift-giver and the recipient are well-versed in civil interactions, the giving of gifts unconditionally will go very smoothly; the giver will give without expecting anything back and the recipient will show appreciation without prompting. That's an ideal world and mitigating factors always intervene, so always be generous in your interpretation of the recipient's reaction. Maybe not today, but some day down the track, you might learn that your act of selfless generosity and kindness turned that person's life around.

    The ultimate unconditional gift is the anonymous gift.
    Try giving gifts on a random day. It goes a long way to show that you do not expect something back if you give a gift for no reason.

    Edited by Flickety, Eric, Mimi, Chris Hadley and 8 others taken from

    Why People Give Gifts

    Why People Give Gifts

    The Psychology Behind Gift-Giving

    It’s that time of the year when people’s attention is focused on the holiday ritual of gift-giving. Shoppers are scurrying about looking for the right gift for the special people in their lives.
    Gift exchange is a major part of celebrating the holidays, but did you know the whole act of gift-giving can offer psychological benefits? Giving a gift is a universal way to show interest, appreciation, and gratitude, as well as strengthen bonds with others, sources say.
    “There is the whole act — determining what needs to be given and making sure it fits with the person,” says Devin A. Byrd, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences at South University — Savannah. “There is an emotional lift when searching for the gift.”
    Better to give than to receive, gift-giving is also an act of altruism — unselfish concern for the well-being of others. When we give without expecting anything in return, we are improving our psychological health.
    “In lifespan and developmental psychology, we teach about altruism and how it benefits individuals and society,” says Dr. Darlene Silvernail, owner of Silvernail Consultant Services and Psychology instructor at South University — West Palm Beach. “Gift-giving feels good internally, and there are extrinsic benefits also.”
    There is an enormous sense of satisfaction when seeing the expression on the face of someone you’ve given a gift to. A way to express feelings, giving reinforces appreciation and acknowledgement of each other. The feelings expressed mainly depend on the relationship between giver and recipient.
    Gift-giving feels good internally, and there are extrinsic benefits also.
    “If it is friend to friend, people will remain thoughtful,” Byrd says. “If it is a romantic relationship, people will try to go for sentiment as well. [Gift-giving] taps into how we want to connect with that individual.”
    He says gift-giving is also a way for the giver to reduce guilt.
    “That really comes into play when you have people giving from afar,” he says. “Now, it is a lot easier to order a gift online and send it. It can be a replacement for not being there with the person. They gain satisfaction when they find the right gift and that brings emotional happiness.”
    “If you do something positive, positive psychology says you attract positive,” Silvernail says. “People don’t always give just to get something back, but many times we think ‘if I do a good deed, something good will happen for me.’”
    gift giving
    The expectation of reciprocity often comes with gift-giving, Byrd says.
    “I imagine that there is a small subset of us who do give and expect nothing in return. You can tag that with those who give anonymously,” he says. “But, I think there is an innate desire to receive when we give. No matter the gift, people want to receive.”
    Psychologists aren’t the only ones who understand the mental and emotional benefits of gift-giving. The holiday season is also a big time for advertisers to tap into the feelings of consumers in an effort to get them to buy products. It seems as if Christmas advertising arrives earlier every year.
    Whether it’s through television commercials and shopping websites filled with holiday music and graphics or store displays offering festive cheer, consumers can’t escape holiday advertising.
    “Advertisers are very good at creating a culture of giving and being prepared for finding that right gift,” Byrd says. “There is a great expectation and buildup of what it will mean when a person receives it. Advertisers also know about the satisfaction of the deal — something that looks like an expensive gift but the person purchased it for a deal.”
    Gifts can also bring on feelings of negativity for both the giver and recipient when the gift is much more or much less than they expected.
    “A person can have immediate feelings of resentment if they feel a person has not spent enough,” Byrd says. “They feel undervalued or cheated. Or perhaps the gift expresses more feelings than expected.”
    Although gift-giving can be a de-stressor and create balance, the hunt for the perfect gift for friends and family can also cause a lot of stress. The costs of gifts and what it takes to package them can be a financial burden.
    “People need to remember there are ways to acknowledge others without having to purchase something,” Byrd says. “Christmas cards and photos tell you that you are in that person’s network and you are important enough to keep updated with what’s going on in that person’s life.”
    Activities such as gatherings or parties are also a good way to share the holiday spirit without exchanging gifts.
    “I think the focus should stay on what the holidays are really about and not on the commercial aspects of it,” Silvernail says. “Gifts don’t have to be huge monetary things to make everyone feel good.”
    Author: Darice Britt
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