Once, as a low-incomed college student, I contemplated skipping Christmas altogether. The thought even crossed my mind to ignore the close family and friends that I gifted sentiments to last year as a way of preventing any uncomfortable gifting conversations. My best friend, for example, was famous for her pre-season phone call. “Hey Julie! So I was thinking of getting Ken a new bike this year, one similar to the one you bought for Jess a few years back. Oh by the way, what are you getting for her this year?”
As Thanksgiving passed, and with Christmas in the horizon, however, an unsettling feeling lingered in my chest. I have all these people I love and adore in my life. How will they know exactly how much they mean to me?
Gift giving has long been a studied phenomenon among psychologists. Who is really reaping the benefits of gift offerings? Is it the recipient, or could it possibly be the giver? There is, undoubtedly, an enormous sense of satisfaction in seeing the expression your recipient gives when they realize exactly what you have given them. This universal way to show appreciation, interest, gratitude, love, and adoration is heartwarming to both parties in an equivalent capacity.
There are unsurpassed psychological benefits to searching for a gift, purchasing it, and then giving it. To, merely, say that it provides an emotional lift is an understatement. The gift giver gets to enjoy the satisfaction of doing something nice with unselfish intent for another. In the end, it boosts their self-esteem, their reputation, and strengthens the bonds they have with their loved ones.
Bregman reminds us, however, to not be stingy in the process! Giving is another way to rekindle lost relationships, and conflicted feelings. A simple note of appreciation, love, or get well can mean the world.