3 Ways to Make Your Gifts Extra Meaningful Based on Scientific Claims

Dec 15, 2015 11:10 AM EST | By M.R. Maestro

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It is customary to most people to give gifts during special life events and holidays, especially this Christmas season. Most of us fret on what to get the special people in our lives. We worry too much on how it will cost, if the person who will receive the gift will like it, and how will they think of us being the giver. Some people even go crazy on choosing the perfect gift wrapper to wrap it on! Does these even truly matter? How does the saying, "It's the thought that counts" really apply? 

Huffington Post shares three spot on ways to make your gifts extra meaningful this Christmas based on scientific claims:

1.Know the receiver

Knowing, by means of establishing an intimate connection with the person who will receive your gift will give you the right options on what to give- simply tailoring the gift to the receiver.  Ryan Howell, a psychologist at San Francisco State University said that "the most important thing in the exchanging of gifts is that it shows that you really know the person well." It simply shows that you really know the person well.

While a study in 2014 published in the Journal of Consumer Research revealed that gift givers dwell too much on the desirability of potential gifts, showing away the practicality of those gifts; on how the gift might be of use to the receiver when in fat, the participants who were the recipients of the gifts actually preferred the more practical things as gifts. A $3 plain sweatshirt might make your cousin happier rather than receiving a $75 chinaware set she can hardly use daily.  

2. Personalized and hand-me-downs are more intimate gifts

The first thing most people think of getting a gift is if the other person won't find it "cheap" or them having a lack of taste. But a study published earlier this year proves that brand new and store-bought expensive things are not always the best. 

In a study published in the Journal of Marketing, people would prefer buying homemade items for their loved ones. These people were even willing to pay as much as 17% more for homemade items versus commercial and mass-produced items. The research findings suggest that homemade and personalized items make the participants feel they have been showing more love to the recipient of their gift. 

Heirlooms or hand-me-down items with great sentimental value are also great gift options. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research conducted back in 2009 found that when a certain family member hands down even a very depersonalized asset (i.e. money) through the generations, the symbolic value of the money is greater than its numerical value alone.

3. Experiences as gifts are more memorable than objects

When referring to a 'gift' the first thing that pops in our head are objects. But gifts can take in the form of experiences and memories, and are even proven to be remembered by people for the rest of their lives. 

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania has conducted a study saying that people who receive experiential gifts like concert tickets or free events and movie passes tend to feel more connected to the giver of the gift rather than those who received material gifts. Experiential gifts are also very effective for children- doing something like a trip to the zoo with a child brings out a strong connection to the giver as they are biologically drawn to good memories. 

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