People go through so many occasions for giving and receiving gifts each year. From birthdays, anniversaries to holidays, it seems there is at least one occasion every other month that require us to go shopping for presents. However, despite this frequency, many people still view gifting as one of those deceivingly difficult tasks. In fact, gifting can sometimes become increasingly more difficult the more we do it as we run out of ideas. Even the way people think about buying presents varies: some prefer to give big and expensive gifts, while others believe giving small but thoughtful gifts. To help our readers find great gifts that make their friends and family happy, we've compiled the below tips that make a great gifter.
Give One Gift at a Time Instead of Combining Them
The next time you get an ambitious gift for someone you care about, you may want to consider buying one item instead of creating a combination (or a basket) of a few different things. For example, it would be better to gift a nice watch than to combine the watch with a S$50 gift card. This is because people tend to make "judgments that result in an averaging pattern", according to a study that calls this phenomenon "presenter's paradox." This term describes people's tendencies to prefer one expensive item over that same item combined with something cheaper because they evaluate items in clusters and averages. In our earlier example, it would mean that the recipient is likely to "average" the value of the watch and the S$50 gift card, and thereby perceiving it to be less valuable than receiving only the watch which is objectively less valuable.
People Prefer Usable Gifts Over Expensive Ones
In another study, researchers found that only gift givers cared about the price tag of the gifts they were giving, while receivers couldn't even remember the expensive presents they received. Similar results have been confirmed by a number of other studies by Journal of Consumer Research and even Amazon that showed that gift receipients often strongly prefer usable & practical presents that they actually want instead of something expensive and sentimental. For example, when choosing between a dinner at an expensive but distant restaurant and a meal at a local restaurant that is cheaper, givers chose the luxury restaurant that is farther away, while recipients chose the cheaper that is more conveniently located. Of course, this doesn't mean that gifters should be less caring or considerate; it just means that being a thoughtful gifter is to buy things that the recipient would actually need, appreciate and use rather than to buy an extravagant or expensive one.
Be Mindful of the Receiver's Need to Reciprocate
Last but not least, it's essential to anticipate what kind of response you will get from the recipient of your gift. Besides being satisfied or unsatisfied with the present they receive, there are also other sets of complex emotions surrounding the practice of gifting. For example, some studies have shown that gifts tend to make men feel burdened and obligated to return the favor, while women tend to happily accept and enjoy their gifts. While this characterization may not apply to everyone, it's important to be mindful that it's possible to burden someone by giving them a gift that is too extravagant. If you get a present that is so expensive that the recipient could never reciprocate fully, you could be putting them in an awkward place emotionally. Of course, different recipients and occasions (i.e. weddings, graduation, etc) will change this dynamic dramatically, but it's an important consideration to make with each gift you purchase.
Finance of Gifting: Matters More to Givers Than to Receivers
What our tips and research above show is that the finances of gifting generally matter more to givers than to receivers. In fact, finance and gifts have always been intricately intertwined; people of different cultures have displayed both their wealth and their regards for others through giving presents for centuries. There will be occasions that call for pricier gifts to show your love and appreciation to someone. Even if there aren't, the sheer frequency for gift-giving-occasions could make it a financially burdensome over time.
While we've shown that it's both possible and sometimes even beneficial to be more "financially responsible" when it comes to purchasing a present, those who need more help should definitely turn to using the right rewards credit cards to make their purchases. Doing so pays off especially more for Singaporeans, since credit cards in Singapore tend to be even more generous than rewards credit cards in other countries like the US or Korea. If you find yourself being burdened by spending too much on gifts, make sure to get a rewards credit card to help reduce the financial burden of gifting through earning cash rebates, by getting direct discounts on online shopping malls or even by helping you rack up miles that you can use to pay for your trip in the future.