Why You’re Bad at Giving Gifts & How to Fix It

Gifting is nowadays harder than ever - so many different options can be overwhelming. We'll help you to understand your problem and offer some help.
why you are bad at gifting

Gifting can be stressful. That is one reason gift registries are a multibillion-dollar industry. Holidays are a perfect time for many businesses to create gift registries to help people buy the gifts they want and need. But do these lists actually make gift giving less stressful?

Let’s admit it – we’re pretty reliably terrible gift-givers. The reason why, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, is that because we spend too much time trying to be considerate. We imagine gift receivers opening their gift with delirious happiness and surprise on their faces and the warmth we feel in return. But there’s something that the most sentimental gift-givers tend to not think too much about: Whether the gift is practical at all.

Let’s dive a bit into psychology:

Gift giving is a symbiotic activity, so although gift-givers want to please the gift receiver, they are also especially invested in their relationship with them. We think that the expensive gift makes our relationship with the receiver better, but that’s far from the truth. While gift-givers would always opt for the most expensive gift, the receiver would always choose the most practical. Next time you’re buying a gift, don’t go for the money value, but for usability value.

In many ways, practicality seems like an enemy of great gift-giving. Beautiful jewelry, lovely watches, perfect rugs, meticulously crafted kitchen hardware: These sorts of things ostensibly make for great gifts because they communicate something beyond practicality. They communicate that the giver cares.

But do the recipients really care? Often, no. They do not make a difference between a $20 stake and a $200 stake or $20 bracelet and $200 bracelet.


Still, we often buy gifts to be sentimental, and that’s okay. The point of many gifts, such as jewelry or art, is precise that they’re not practical. Spending a lot of money on something that isn’t merely useful is a way of saying: I like you enough to buy you stuff that simply says, “I like you.”

How to fix it? Is there a simple fix?

It’s important not to be phased when it comes to difficult gifts – be confident in what you choose for loved ones. We often put too much pressure on ourselves to pick the perfect gift, especially when we’re not sure what ‘perfect’ looks like.  

The main point to remember is it’s the thought that counts and not necessarily the material nature of the gift.

Finally, The fix is pretty simple. Spend less and spend more to gift better. Spend less money and more time researching to get better gifts.

However, if you don’t have a lot of time for shopping or you have no idea, check out our Gifting Service. Our Creative Director Saejn made an awesome questionnaire which results in great gifts in the end.