Pinkcast 2.10: This is how to use science to choose the perfect gift
LINKS AND FURTHER READING:
- The great animations and new title card in this Pinkcast are the work of the creative minds at Tremendousness.
- The paper I mention is Giving them what they want: The benefits of explicitness in gift exchange. Its authors are Francesca Gino and Francis Flynn.
- Another interesting related study is Overindividuation in Gift Giving: Shopping for Multiple Recipients Leads Givers to Choose Unique But Less Preferred Gifts by Mary Steffel and Robyn Le Boeuf.
Like this Pinkcast? Subscribe to get Dan's newsletter and a Pinkcast delivered to your inbox.
THANK YOU! Cash for everyone! It’s EXHAUSTING coming up with creative, individual gifts. I am now off the hook for going to the mall, you are a good, good man.
There is an art of gift giving wherein what you are actually giving is almost irrelevant. You can ask the Japanese about this and there is even a reference in The Old Testament in the giving of the First Fruits. There is a humility to the act which speaks to the importance of the relationship. A great example of this is also which would your prefer your 5 year old child to give you: a painstakingly drawn card of the battle of Midway for Veterans Day (if you are a Vet) or $5 he took out of his Mom’s wallet?
Bad holiday advice, Dan. It should all be about affirming relationships, not material possessions. That is what people really want! And not just this time of year.
I want cash for Christmas…and that’s what I asked for.
I think this is one of those “play the numbers” kinds of things because there *are* people who *do* want the extra special thing that demonstrates you know them and all of that; you can recognize them because they are the only people who are able to do that very thing. I have several of these people in my family circle and they most emphatically do NOT want cash, they want you to be able to do what they do. The problem is they are gifted (see what I did there) with this talent and the rest of us aren’t. I’m happy to have you give me exactly what I asked for or if I don’t get around to telling you, cash. The good news is eventually these gift wunderkinds figure out that they have abilities the rest of us don’t and are willing to let us give them cash.
The thing with surveys and research is that, on average, it’s probably right most of the time. And, overall, with my own biases and perceived memories of my own distorted perceptions, that’s probably been right for me most of the time. BUT, the 3 times that someone has gifted me something completely unexpected yet so perfect at the time, I was genuinely moved and remember it intensely years later. As a gifter, I’ll play that numbers game, but on infrequent occasions for special people, if I reckon I’ve got a good insight into that person, I’ll roll the dice on an outside-the-box tailored gift. It won’t always knock it out of the park, maybe not even hit the mark at all, but those would be the times where “It’s the thought that counts” actually counts.
For the person who says they don’t want anything, and that already have everything a person could want: give them the gift of an adventure!
Rent a caboose to stay in and do zip lining and obstacle courses! My gift to my wife for her birthday in November. Hit it out of the park.
I almost agree. I would just change ‘ask people what they want’ to find out what they want. Here’s where the creative, personal touch comes in, simply listen, observe, talk to others or using clever disguised questions and you’ll find you start to find out without having to ask direct. Not only that it provides a great opportunity to practice your listening skills or questioning skills.
I fully agree here – people think that they can guess by what they see externally or hear things that may give them clues. The problem is our own biases come into play here and we interpret it differently. Ask….listen….give them what they want! This also applies to leadership and motivating employees….don’t guess, ask, listen and give them what they need to flourish! Great stuff as always! Merry Christmas!!!
Happy Holidays, Daniel!
But make sure you get what they asked for:
A woman I was dating asked me what I wanted and I said an alarm clock radio; she gave me a cheap battery powered alarm clock.
When I told my best (female) friend, she gave me an alarm clock radio w/built in phone.
Guess who got the proposal later.
I’ll stay out of the gift-giving controversies above — everyone makes good points. I think this is an area where people have so many different feelings about commercialism/materialism and ambivalence of the forced family fun of the holiday season. I will say, however, that the animation is delightful and fun. Very much in the spirit of your videos. Thank you, and Happy Holidays, Dan — and to all of the Pinkophiles following these conversations!
What is an appropriate amount of cash to give if you can’t afford very much? At this point in life, I can’t spend more than $10 in gifts for the few special people in my life. To give such little cash to an adult seems a tad inappropriate. So I’m giving out handmade gifts and heartfelt letters. I did ask family members what they’d like, and went for small necessities like supplements, micro SD card, etc. Again, I find it a bit awkward to ask people what they’d like in case I can’t afford it. How do you phrase your limitations?
Haha, great !
Thanks for your ever smart, cheerful and evidence-based posts.
Sometimes gifts are just a form of expression, and “what it is” may not really matter.
By the way, the simple strokes on the video are really cute.