Holiday gifting season is fast approaching. As in years past, people face shopping for gifts with equal measures of excitement and dread. It’s exciting to anticipate the fun of sharing time and gifts with loved ones and friends in happy celebration. Dread comes with fearing the gifts chosen might disappoint or not live up to those heightened expectations.
But this holiday season, shoppers may confront even more dread, since retailers are warning of widespread supply shortages and the threat of the Delta variant is discouraging shoppers from venturing out.
While industry analysts are predicting a surprisingly strong holiday season – Deloitte is out early with a forecast that retail sales will rise between 7-to-9 percent in November and December – other studies indicate people will show restraint as they approach this most festive time of year. Fewer plan to gather with friends and family, down from 86 percent in a normal year to 72 percent this year, according to a Numerator survey. And gift-giving will dip as well, from 75 percent to 67 percent. With the potential of fewer gifts purchased this year and holiday celebrations on hold, the gifts people choose this year must have special meaning. The gifts we give will have to do the heavy-lifting when it comes to expressing emotions and feelings since many will not be able to spend time together. This puts extra pressure on the gift giver to make their gift selections extra special.
So the question becomes what makes for the best, most meaningful, emotionally-expressive gift? Here are three rules for selecting the best gift based on psychology, followed by one gift idea at everyone’s fingertips that perfectly satisfies each rule: a custom-framed photograph.
Rule Number One: Give Something You Both Share And Enjoy
Psychological studies show that gifting’s aim is to strengthen the emotional bond between the gift giver and the gift recipient. As your mother said, “It’s the thought that counts,” and a gift that has special meaning to both the gifter and the giftee means the most to both.
“If you have something in common with somebody, get something that shares the same affinity,” advises University of British Columbia psychology professor Elizabeth Dunn and co-author of Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending.
A photograph of a shared experience is just that.
Rule Number Two: Give Something That Lasts
Researchers also find that the gift recipients most value a gift they can enjoy over time. While gift-givers want the moment of opening a present to be memorable, a gift that lasts and the recipient can enjoy over and over again is most meaningful.
“When givers give gifts, they’re trying to optimize the moment they give the gift and see the smile on the recipient’s face right in that moment,” says Jeff Galak, an associate professor of marketing at the Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business “But what recipients care about is how much value they’re going to derive from that over a longer time period.”
A custom-framed photograph on display lets the recipient enjoy your holiday gift every day for years to come. It lasts.
Rule Number Three: Give A Memory
In a study entitled “Experiential Gifts Foster Stronger Social Relationships Than Material Gifts,” led by Cindy Chan, assistant professor of marketing at University of Toronto, the researchers investigated the relationship strengthening effects of different types of gifts: material objects or experiences. Experiential gifts won.
The researchers conclude: “The relationship improvements that recipients derive from experiential gifts stem from the intensity of emotion that is evoked when they consume the gifts, rather than when the gifts are received.”
The consumption of experiential gifts they refer to includes not just participating in the experience while it is happening, but the greater emotional effects when the memories of the experience are recalled. If doing the experience is good, then remembering the experience is better. That is because memory is selective. People tend to embellish remembered good times to make them even better and cancel out any negatives associated with the experience.
Need proof? Think about any accomplishment you made after working hard for it, like climbing a mountain, running a 10K race or getting a new job. What stays in your memory is the thrill of achievement, like the view from the mountain top, the exhilaration at the end of the race or the excitement of walking into your new workplace. All the work and effort is quickly forgotten, but the happy memories remain.
With so many uncertainties looming this year, it may not be the time to give an experiential gift. But you can do one better and give a gift of a memory: a picture of a time and place with special meaning to you and your gift recipient.
Photograph Checks All The Boxes And A Custom Frame Is The Beautiful Wrapping
Most everyone carries an entire photographic library right in their pocket: on their smartphone. Every picture is a memory of people, places and experiences shared. Taking a photograph out of your phone and turning it into a custom-framed print makes a perfect gift that will strengthen your connection with the gift recipient.
Every time they look at that framed picture, they will be reminded of you and your relationship. By presenting it custom framed, not just as a digital photo shared on a device, the memory and its meaning will last a lifetime. It becomes real.
Custom-framing a picture makes any picture extra special because the frame and presentation is personalized by you for the gift recipient. And even the picture itself can be customized through cropping or other digital enhancement. It can be printed on canvas to look more like a piece of art than a photograph. And one photograph can be combined with others to create a collage of memories in a single frame.
Perhaps the best part of choosing a custom-framed photograph as a gift is how easily it can be done. You can upload your photograph or photographs right from your smartphone to an online custom-framing service that allow you to design your frame package right on the screen. And some local framing shops have high-qualty printers so they can accept uploads of digital pictures for a one-stop shop.
Special To Give, Special To Receive
Every holiday season finding the right gift for everyone on your gift list is a challenge. This year it may be even more challenging since life has yet to return to normal. And with many holiday celebrations curtailed, the gifts you give must carry the message of your love and caring
What better way to do that than to give the gift of a shared memory that your gif recipient can enjoy for years to come. And you’ll enjoy giving a custom-framed photograph too by scrolling through your photo library, selecting just the right image and customizing the frame.
The custom-framed photographs you select for each individual on your list will be a unique, irreplaceable gift that will be cherished for years to come, special to give and special to receive
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This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of Tru Vue or its employees. Tru Vue does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented.