Guide to Gifting

by Saifiyah Zaki, Digital Media Editor

Winter break is approaching quickly and with only one more week to go, we’re all ready to finish up finals and head home to enjoy the holidays. However, under the guise of relaxation and merry-making lies the incredible stress of gift-giving. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself stranded in the middle of a mall searching for last-minute presents for your friends and family in the midst of frantic mothers stumbling about trying to find the cutest gift for their nieces and nephews. But fear not, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few tips to get you started on finding the perfect gift:

Grandeur ≠ gratitude

Contrary to popular belief, a pricier gift won’t necessarily be more valued by the recipient. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that gift-givers assumed more expensive gifts convey a higher level of thoughtfulness, yet gift-recipients reported no such association between gift price and their actual feelings of appreciation. Don’t worry so much about the size or price of your gift; instead, try to think of something that’s personal and shows you listen to the recipient. Think back to conversations you’ve had with them; is there anything they’ve been complaining about? Buy something that will fix the problem. Or, if you know of anything they’ve been wanting but are unwilling to buy for themselves, buy it for them. These items can range anywhere from a pair of fuzzy socks to a box of their favorite candy — inexpensive but thoughtful gifts.

Don’t be afraid to go homemade

Buying a present isn’t the only way to show your loved ones you care. Making one by hand certainly takes more time, but it’s well worth it. The findings of a 2015 study in the Journal of Marketing suggest that people feel homemade items show more love. Try your hand at a personalized present, whether it be a photo holder or baked goods, but don’t let your level of craftiness intimidate you out of it. If there’s anything I’ve learned from scrolling through Instagram it’s that everyone can make cute little gifts, a plethora of which you can find on Pinterest or Buzzfeed Nifty.

Presentation is key

If you haven’t caught on to it yet, the main objective here is to be thoughtful — from the present inside to the wrapping. A wrapped gift shows much more effort was put into the present, and psychologically appeals more to the recipient. If you’re a gift-wrapping noob, consult the boundless collection of YouTube videos dedicated to different wrapping techniques and the quickest, easiest ways to go about them. In the digital age, there’s no excuse for an ugly present.

Clearly, the means and methods of gift-giving vary, but the bottom line is that if you give from the heart something thoughtful, relevant and memorable, you have nothing to stress about.