It’s the Thought that Counts?

Giver: “If you don’t like it you can take it back!”
Receiver: “Great. A lame gift AND an errand!”

Once upon a Christmas, I gave someone close a copy of the LIFE magazine from the day she was born. Mind you, the special day was in 1959. I sent away to an antique publications house in New York two months in advance, and paid $40 for it.

On Christmas Day, she opened the package and… just didn’t get it. She was polite about it but I could just tell, you know?

Well, according to a study in a recent Journal of Experimental Psychology…

The adage “It’s the thought that counts” was largely debunked. Gift givers are better off choosing gifts that receivers actually desire rather than spending a lot of time and energy shopping for what they perceive to be a thoughtful gift. The study found thoughtfulness doesn’t increase a recipient’s appreciation if the gift is a desirable one. In fact, thoughtfulness only seemed to count when a friend gives a gift that is disliked. Wall Street Journal

So, we really only want what we want. They say the only sure way to satisfy someone is to force them to make a list, and then buy something on it. And this is my defense in the previous example. I went the “thoughtful” route because she was TERRIBLE about making a wish list, always has been. After that, I switched to gift cards.

Oh well… if you are thinking that this is just one more sign of what stupid selfish babies we all are, I have to say that I don’t disagree.  Read the article, and tell us what you think!

* the “errand” joke isn’t mine. I would credit it if I could remember who said it!

2 thoughts on “It’s the Thought that Counts?”

  1. i would still rather have the reciever know that thoughtfulness went into my gift choice than just getting them what ever they want .
    we americans are spoiled rotten as a whole , lol
    i can understand that some gifts are not practical , but in the case where you got the Magazine , i think that was a jesture that showed how your appreciation for them as a person . i am sure after thinking about it the person definetly thought more of you than if you just threw them a gift card .
    i think that gift giving has become so commercialized that the reason why we give gifts has been lost or forgotten by many. what a shame

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