Contributed by: Jane Sandwood

gift boxesGift-giving is one of the oldest human traditions dating back to the stone age, but why is it that we still feel tremendous stress when buying gifts for our loved ones? The act of giving and receiving gifts is still so prevalent because it’s one of the best ways for us to strengthen personal bonds or relationships, which in turn, influence our physical and mental health. The more affection we feel for a family member or friend, the more pressure there is to find the perfect gift for them. Considering what we know about the psychology of gift-giving, here are ways to deal with the stress and pressure of gift-giving.

Remember, It’s The Thought That Counts
Nowadays, more people are shifting towards giving simple, functional presents as well as gifts that are sustainable and eco-friendly. Oftentimes, we think that the higher the price tag, the better the gift. As a result, we feel a lot of stress and pressure to find an expensive gift that the giftee might not even like. This shouldn’t be the case. When gift-giving, you should always keep in mind the popular adage, “it’s the thought that counts.” Remember that the act of gift-giving should be more important than the actual gift. It’s not the monetary value of the gift that’s important but the sentiment behind it.

Avoid Overvaluing The Giftee’s Response
Overvaluing your giftee’s response to the gift is also one of the reasons why gift shopping can be a very stressful experience. We put too much value on how the giftee will react upon receiving our gift. You might be focusing too much on this hypothetical reaction instead of the actual value or reaction of the giftee to your gift. So, if you want to lessen the psychological burden while shopping for gifts, you should avoid overvaluing the giftee’s response. Just keep in mind your giftee’s characteristics and interests, and try to pick a gift that they will be able to enjoy and use.

Choose A Special Experience Instead
Rather than giving a tangible gift, you might want to provide the giftee with a special experience instead. Studies have found that experiential gifts are more effective in strengthening relationships. People are said to put more value on special experiences than material gifts, regardless of whether the special experience is enjoyed solo or with the giver. You also don’t have to go all-out with an elaborate trip, it can be as simple as a heartfelt picnic in the park. Similar to physical gifts, it should be the thought here that counts.

Gift-giving during holidays or special occasions can be very stressful, to the point that our mental health suffers. Instead of celebrating that happy occasion, we put too much pressure on ourselves to find the perfect gift for our loved one. In order to lessen the pressure of gift-giving, we should remember why we’re giving a gift in the first place. It’s to show appreciation to the giftee and strengthening your relationship with him or her. With these tips, you’ll be able to convey your true emotions to your loved ones without having to endure all the stress that comes with gift-giving.