The Type of Gift That Brings You Closer to Friends and Family
There are many occasions that call for gift giving.
Weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays to name a few. And it may have you asking:
“What’s the best type of gift to give someone?”
Psychology research has some advice when looking for the perfect gift. First, if they have a list, it’s best to stick to it.
But if you’re flying blind, new research says there’s one type of gift that most of us usually don’t consider. Not only can it help generate some new ideas for you, but it’s also the best type of gift to bring you closer to family and friends.
Buy Them an Experience
Here’s the big question…
What are you trying to accomplish with the gift?
Your reasons might vary between laughter, smiles, to a look of surprise. But be careful. Experts say that as a gift giver, you shouldn’t focus too much on the moment the gift is unwrapped – or the “big reveal”.
It can make us miss the bigger picture. At least that’s what a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research says. The researchers looked at how different gifts affect the relationship between giver and receiver across four different studies.
Researcher Cindy Chan explains:
Often the focus is only on whether someone likes a gift rather than focusing on a fundamental objective of gift giving, and that is fostering relationships between giver and recipient.
She reminds us that we shouldn’t forget the big, underlying reason why we give gifts. To show people how much we care and appreciate them.
And if you want to strengthen your relationship, the study says there’s one type of gift that does this better than others. Here’s Cindy:
People often struggle with the challenge of choosing what to give someone. If you want to give them something that will make them feel closer to you, give an experience.
Stronger Emotional Ties
Buying an experience as a gift is far from second nature. According to the study, 78% of people last bought a material type of gift.
Our normal thought process is to find something we can put in box and wrap up. It’s tradition to have the recipient tear off the wrapping and show it to family and friends.
But why is gifting an experience so much better?
The researchers say because the feelings and emotions that come with an experience are much stronger than what you get from a material possession. Cindy elaborates:
An experiential gift elicits a strong emotional response when a recipient consumes it — like the fear and awe of a safari adventure, the excitement of a rock concert or the calmness of a spa — and is more intensely emotional than a material possession.
If You Have to Get a Material Gift
If you’re still looking for something physical that you can wrap up, Cindy says you can still center material gifts around an experience or emotions.
It could be a reminder of an experience you shared together, like a CD of a concert both of you went to, or a framed photo of skydiving or vacation you went on. If you’re going the jewelry route, have a personal message engraved on it.
Other research has shown that purchasing experiences instead of things can make us happier people. It seems this same wisdom goes for getting gifts for those who matter most to you.