That’s according to new research published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, where business professors from Indiana University and Carnegie Mellon University found that gift givers often focus on how someone will react when they open their present, and not on whether the gift is actually something they will keep and use.
Researchers say that most people are satisfied with receiving a generic, boring, or even re-gifted present instead of one that’s surprising, novel, thoughtful, or unique. Basically, they concluded, “If you want to give a gift that someone will appreciate, then you should focus on getting a good gift and ignore whether it is a thoughtful gift or not”
Studies also show it’s best to just give people what they want. Researchers from Stanford and Harvard business schools published research in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology that revealed that most people prefer getting something they’ve asked for. If your loved ones don’t provide you with a wish list, there’s no shame in giving them a gift card. Just make sure to choose one that gives them flexibility in how they use it.