'Tis the season for gift-giving but what goes into picking out those gifts -- and the efforts made to ensure a certain reaction -- can actually hamper a successful exchange.
According to a paper published in the journal Current Direction in Psychological Science, those who focus on the moment of gift giving and the reaction of the recipient at the moment they open it, are making one of the most common errors when selecting presents.
"Givers should choose gifts based on how valuable they will be to the recipient throughout his or her ownership of the gift, rather than how good a gift will seem when the recipient opens it," the paper states.
So how can you make sure you're giving a good gift?
The paper lists a few rules to stick to:
-- Choose a useful gift over one that wows. Givers often want to amaze the recipient at the time of gift opening but it's best to find something the recipient actually can use.
-- Stick to the list -- givers will sometimes choose to surprise the recipient instead of buying something that was asked for or something off a registry. Recipients prefer the gifts they actually asked for.
-- Gifts don't need to be enjoyed immediately -- opting to give someone a higher-quality gift, even if only a partial gift, will provide more value down the road.
-- Givers often think of the "warm glow" they expect recipients to feel about a socially responsible gift, however those types of gifts provide the recipient with little ownership value, and as such, they can be less enthusiastic about them.
You can read the full report here.