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For The Santa Win: Science Shows Us How To Pick The Perfect Prezzie

Ever been disappointed at finding out that a present you meticulously researched and brainstormed over now lies forgotten in the downstairs basement? You’re not the only one; gift giving is an art, there’s a study about it. For real. Here’s how to turn crappy gift giving into a surefire Santa win.


The research, led by Jeff Galak of Carnegie Mellon University, says that gift-givers tend to look for presents that will offer the recipient a moment of awe or surprise, one that will pull a smile from them during the moment of  the exchange. These are all good and valid reasons to give a gift, but we tend to forget about a few things when we buy presents; is the person really going to use this? Will the present be of value over time? Are looking for instant gratification? Probably.

It’s tough, but the study recommends to pull ourselves out of the equation, to be a little less selfish – we know it’s hard – and to try to give a gift that will be long lasting and that will truly matter.


The research demonstrates that giving presents is complicated because gift givers and recipients are thinking about totally different things. Gift recipients want something that they’ll actually use and that will stand the test of time, something that may not be so cool while unwrapping at a Christmas party.

Bottom line is, during Christmas when you really want to buy your friend that tree ornament that looks amazing and that they’ve been eyeing for a while, it will definitely pay off to hold back on those eggnog induced feelings and buy them something that you know they’ll need in the future. 



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