Why thoughtful gifts are the worst gifts – the washington post

There’s a reason Santa demands a list. Martini rosso vermouth recipes (Matthew Apgar/AP Photo)

In the coming weeks, millions of people will buy gifts for loved ones. Martini rosso vermouth price Which is great — except that tons of those people will make the same glaring mistake, and buy the wrong gift.

Roughly 10 percent of gifts are returned each year — and the percentage of unwanted gifts is surely higher given that nice people may not want to return presents.

Gift buying has become a deceivingly selfish pursuit. Martini rosso vermouth sweet We don’t actually look for things people want to receive. Instead, and to many of our gifts’ detriments, we tend to look for things that we want to give. Drinks with dry vermouth It’s a subtle, but pretty significant problem.

“Gift givers want to prove how well they know a person by choosing a thoughtful gift,” Mary Steffel, an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati whose research has focused on gift-giving. Martini bianco vermouth recipes “But people aren’t very good at anticipating what others want.”

Research has shown that givers tend to value the gifts they buy considerably more than recipients. Martini rossi vermouth recipes Gifts are valued roughly 10 to 33 percent less by recipients than what givers paid for them, Joel Waldfogel noted in Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn’t Buy Presents for the Holidays, his 2009 book on gift-giving.

The discrepancy seems to come from a simple misplaced belief that thoughtful presents are the best presents. Gin martini recipe no vermouth They are not. Gin martini recipe sweet vermouth In fact, they might just be the worst presents. The more thought you put into a present, the more likely you are to stray from buying what the person you’re buying the present for actually wants.

“Gift givers tend to focus on what people are like instead of what people actually would like,” said Steffel. Dry martini recipe gin vermouth “And it’s most pronounced when they’re shopping for people they are close to.”

In other words, people let their gift-giving egos get in the way of great presents. Cinzano bianco vermouth recipes Especially when the recipient is someone they want to show they know really well.

Fortunately, the answer to our collective insistence on guessing what people want is simple: stop it.

“People want whatever it is they they happen to want in the moment, which can be very specific,” Steffel said. Martini rossi red vermouth “You’re much better off asking people what they want.”

If that’s too callous, or impersonal, there’s another helpful rule of thumb. Martini rosso red vermouth Instead of buying restrictive gifts, like gift cards for specific stores, buy gifts that allow for flexibility, like gift cards that can be used more broadly (or, better yet, cash). Martini rossi sweet vermouth People tend to prefer gift cards to actual gifts, and cash to both, Steffel explained. Martini with sweet and dry vermouth Steffel’s latest research, which focuses on gift card giving, points to exactly this point—that versatility is the key to better gift giving.

Steffel cited a specific example to show how a giver’s thoughtfulness can miss the mark. Vodka martini bitters Say you have a friend, and that friend really likes margaritas. Martini rossi rosso sweet vermouth You might think to buy that friend a margarita-maker.

But a margarita-maker, even if it speaks to a specific quality in that friend (in this case, an insatiable thirst for tequila), is actually a pretty terrible present. Martini rossi sweet vermouth review In virtually every scenario, a blender, or any other more versatile drink-maker, would be a far superior present. Better yet? Give the friend enough cash to buy the device, suggest it, and then accept the reality that they’re probably going to buy something else they want much more.

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Comments our editors find particularly useful or relevant are displayed in Top Comments, as are comments by users with these badges: . Martini extra dry vermouth white Replies to those posts appear here, as well as posts by staff writers.

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