As the holiday season commences, with Halloween lighting the fuse that begins the quick succession of holiday explosions, presents inevitably accompany it. Whether it be Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other holiday, ideas of presents fill the air as stores and companies push advertising, deals, and displays on the consumer. In spite of its highly commercialized aspect, gift-giving is a beloved tradition that many people agree is thoroughly gratifying. But why is it that gift-giving gives people that warm, fuzzy feeling inside?
Psychology states that, in basic principle, positive psychology attracts positivity. When giving someone a gift, the goal is to choose something that caters to their likes and needs, in order to present the person with a meaningful item. Psychologically, gifts act as a reflection of relationships between people. For example, while a gift for a friend is thoughtful, a gift for someone with whom a romantic relationship is shared tends to be more sentimental.
The greatest gift-giving satisfaction arises from the practice of altruism–unselfish concern or devotion to the welfare of others. Psychological studies have long shown that altruism is beneficial to both the individual and society, exemplified, in this case, by the giving of presents to someone who is cared about. When searching for a gift with no other thoughts aside from pleasing the other person, there is a focus on the other person’s want and needs. By finding a present that fits the person and pleases them, the giver experiences an emotional uplift. As a result, gift-giving is the most commonly used way to show interest, gratitude, and to forge stronger bonds between people.
Ultimately, the greatest amount of satisfaction to the giver is derived from the receiver’s reaction. After spending a decent amount of time searching for the perfect present, the expression on the receiver’s face makes every minute worth it. Gift-giving only produces this level of fulfillment when effort, love, care, and dedication are put into the present-finding process. Gift-giving is a highly rewarding process with the other person’s happiness in mind. So, starting this holiday season, remember that a meaningful gift is the best gift for everyone.