The holidays have arrived. Unfortunately, that means you're most likely obligated to spend your drinking and preferred ride share app money on gifts for your "loved ones."
There is a Secret Santa happening in the office right now, and the real secret is I hate it. I want to give [name redacted] a $15 gift certificate to "GoFuckYourself & Co."
But alas, I'm a human being living under the pretext of kindness and generosity so my friends and family will not abandon me. Therefore, I must buy presents people will actually, ugh, enjoy.
Thankfully, I came across – via Business Insider – a paper that uses science and psychology to pin down "common psychological traps people fall into while gift giving."
The biggest mistake while gift giving, according to science, is "focusing too much on the moment of exchange."
According to the paper, the person receiving the gift is actually far more focused "on how valuable a gift will be once owned." The gift-giver buys gifts primarily for the pleasure he or she will receive as he or she gives the other person the present.
Basically, we give gifts so WE'LL feel good, more often than we do to make the other person feel good.
The key is to think "long term" when it comes to gift giving. What would this person actually want and enjoy?
Another easy rule of thumb, according to the paper? People like receiving experiential gifts, rather than material ones.
A 2014 study showed people generally prefer receiving – to cite the example Business Insider does – tickets to a concert rather than an iPad.
Now, to be fair, although this makes sense to me, it seems like a very weird example.
Who in their right mind would rather have anything besides an iPad, and who the fuck are these emperors buying each other iPads for Christmas?
The only concert ticket I'd want more than an iPad would be if John and George came back to life and put on a Beatles resurrection tour.
In conclusion, buy gifts for the other person, not yourself.
And buy something this person probably wouldn't buy him or herself. You know, like a fleshlight that's also a flash light because it's both fun AND useful.
Seriously, though: Inventors, get on this. I need it for the next NYC blackout.