Many of us mark the end of the year with a gift. It could be a personal gift – for a family or friend. Or it might be professional gift for a client or a colleague.
Whether you’re celebrating the Winter Solstice or Saint Nicholas Day, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti, Bowdee Day, Shōgatsu, or maybe you’re just celebrating the new calendar year….chances are you’ve got some shopping to do!
This is where I can help you.
A lot of research has been put into gift-giving and it turns out you can learn how to become a better gift giver and a gift receiver!
(Or, at least, a more informed one!)
3 Things to Talk About this week:
- Gift-Giving is significant
- Gift-giving is COMMUNICATION!
- The Gift-Giving 2×2 Matrix
1️⃣Gift-Giving is significant.
This one is kind of obvious. We give gifts to express our appreciation, gratitude, respect, or to mark momentous occasions.
Researchers in the areas of anthropology, economics, sociology, psychology, and consumer behavior have examined the gift-giving phenomenon in detail and concluded that gift giving is a process that integrates a society.
Our society has created a perpetual system of gift-giving in our culture: giving, receiving, reciprocating. We give gifts for so many reasons – birthday gifts, wedding gifts, thank you gifts, Christmas gifts, hostess gifts. In fact, gift giving counts for approximately 10% of all retail sales. That’s HUGE.
When it comes to corporate gifts, it’s a way to strengthen and maintain relationships between parties. It can reinforce positive behaviour (reach a target, years of service etc.) and can keep you top-of-mind with the decision makers in your vendor or client relationships.
Importantly though, we want to make sure that our gifts are communicated as intended, which leads me to the next part.
2️⃣Gift-giving is COMMUNICATION!
Gift-giving is also highly symbolic.
A gift expresses the giver’s beliefs about the receiver, about the giver, and about the relationship between the giver and the receiver.
Gifts can reinforce important relationships, take them to the next level, or even destroy them. Have you ever noticed how gift-giving is a common complaint about people after a break-up? It’s true, right?
Then there are rituals and traditions that are shaped by your cultural and family upbringing. In the Japanese culture, elaborately wrapped gifts are seen as a sign of respect. In some families, a gift of money is considered a “last minute, we-didn’t-know-what-to-get-you” gift.
And by the way, If you think that gifts don’t matter, that they aren’t significant, well, there’s symbolism in that too.
Then there’s the stress of receiving a gift. Sometimes gifts can produce unwelcome feelings of obligation and guilt. Have you ever received a gift from someone, and you suddenly felt like the relationship was out of balance? That’s partly because gifts are construed as currencies that are exchanged.
So no wonder gift giving causes a lot of anxiety!
3️⃣The Gift-Giving 2×2 Matrix
There’s a reason gift registries (and letters to Santa!) are such a relief for gift givers. There are “rules” established for what the person wants and would appreciate. If only all situations came with guidelines!
Well….I present (ha ha) to you, a Rational Gift Giving matrix.
The matrix is set up to classify gifts according to the substance or cost of the gift and the sentiment involved in it.
Gift-Giving 2×2 Matrix
Receivers typically do not appreciate the extremes (high cost, high sentiment and low cost, low sentiment).
Avoid giving a gift that’s too expensive or too cheap, or with too much thought and effort (or no thought and effort). The safe zone is somewhere in the middle.
The gifts people appreciate most are the low substance, high sentiment gifts. It really is “the thought that counts”!
Inexpensive but thoughtful gifts like the drawing a child gives her parent, or the homemade meal that one neighbor makes for another, are guaranteed to be a success.
There you go – 3 things to Talk About this week:
1️⃣ Gift-Giving is significant
2️⃣ Gift-giving is COMMUNICATION
3️⃣ The Gift-Giving 2×2 Matrix
I would love to hear your gift-giving stories. Your triumphs and yes – your gifting fails. We are talking about gift-giving all month on social media. Please join us!
Please email me or message me on LinkedIn anytime.
Have a great week.
Executive Communication Coach