Gift Giving: 5 Ways to Give the Perfect Christmas Present

11/26/2012

  Holiday-stress
The holidays present a problem to both new couples and those that have been married for 20+ years: How do you find the perfect Christmas present?

Unfortunately, there's no easy answer. As a man, I have no problem admitting that we guys are notoriously bad at choosing gifts. We tend to approach gift giving with a focus on the cost of the gift with the goal impressing the recipient. However, these misguided motivations can lead to awkward disappointments. To help make your gift-giving experience slightly simpler, I’ve provided five ways to pick out a thoughtful present regardless of your gender. (Casually sharing this list with a certain man in your life might be particularly helpful for providing some much-needed guidance this holiday season.)

  1. Details. Dig into your memory and try to remember specific instances when your partner mentioned something in passing about liking the sound of a random song, the smell of a particular fragrance, or the look of a painting. Gifts related to these fleeting moments are great because it shows your partner something very important: you pay attention
  2. Personalize. Tailor your gift choices toward your partner’s quirks. Whether it’s Twilight movies, cat videos, or unicorns, everyone has some quirky thing they semi-privately enjoy. A quirky gift conveys that you “get them” and appreciate their uniqueness.
  3. Effort Counts. The monetary value of gifts is weakly associated with liking a gift. What matters more is that you expend thoughtful effort, which could include time or being open to learning something new. This thoughtful effort shows that you want to continue investing in the relationship.
  4. Share Something Personal. In the interest of building affection or intimacy, one of the best things you can do is explain something personal about yourself. There’s the risk of doing something narcissistic, but a sharing something personal for your partner’s benefit can be greatly appreciated.
  5. Practical Is Not Always Pretty. Your partner might need more hangers, new tires, or a pooper-scooper for the dog, but these practical gifts are not always the right gift for a special event. If you spend money on a practical gift, then consider putting effort into a second, more personal gift.

More Love and Relationships:

Should You Say "I Do?"

5 Ways to Communicate Better with Your Partner

Should You Say "I Love You" First?

 

 

 

 


Ty Tashiro is the author of The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love, an entertaining look at why modern dating is so challenging, why people can easily make bad partner choices, and how science can help us make smart decisions in the search for enduring love. It's available on Amazon, Indie Bound and Barnes & Noble. Dr. Ty received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Minnesota. His research has appeared in top academic journals and he has been an award-winning professor at the University of Maryland and University of Colorado. Follow him on facebook and twitter.
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