We love this time of year. Yes, its colder, darker and at times a bit stressful to cram everything in - daily responsibilities, holiday shopping, work, holiday parties, more holiday shopping. You know, you've been there.
And yet, there's excitement and anticipation (the good kind) in the air. Its the time of year as the song says 'when the world falls in love' with those around them. Our thoughts turn to reaching out, sharing and lifting the spirits of those we know. We do this in many forms - a smile, small acts of kindness like the holding the door, sending holiday cards, giving gifts. We'd add the putting up of lights to this list. The sheer dedication that many in this Valley have for adorning their homes, trees, bushes - really anything in the yard - is unsurpassed and we are all the merrier for seeing and sharing in your creativity and holiday spirit. Thank you!
The bottom line is that at this time of year, we get outside of ourselves and think of others. Often the result of our thinking of others is in the form of action - we buy gifts. Sometimes we nail it - we find the perfect gift that we know the intended receiver will love. Other times we miss 'by that much' as Inspector Gadget would say. The giving of gifts is an art form which not everyone has mastered. Its ok. We all know the mantra that 'its the thought that counts'.
As you consider those to who you give gifts, we thought you'd enjoy gaining a better understanding as to why we do give gifts, courtesy of a nerdy explanation
a la behavioral economist, Dan Ariely. He revels in the joy of gift giving and doesn't as many rational economists would, debate the sense of wearing something that someone gave you when they come to visit even if you wouldn't be caught dead in it. Sound familiar?
Ariely classifies gifts into categories:
economic exchange - buying something someone needs
social connection creation - bringing a gift to the host of the holiday party
paternalistic - items you believe someone else should have
guilty pleasure - the items that people don't buy themselves but don't as they'd feel guilty (think luxury items)
Its an interesting read and one that sheds light on why we buy as we do.
Fear not, gift receivers, we have you covered too. If you get something that is not to your taste, re-gift. Chances are, someone else will love it, needs it, wants it or could really use it. Don't feel guilty about re-gifting - its cool. We are conscious consumers. We know the thought counts. If you can't use it, don't like it or have some other reason re-gift. Gift givers take note: there's now a way for you too to endorse re-gifting. That's right, there's a downloadable API available courtesy of Brain Pickings. Their aim is to reduce the social stigma associated with re-gifting. As a gift giver, you can use the stencils and logos to let the intended receiver that you endorse re-gifting. Here's a sample:
Of course, we at Girls in Tech Boise also respect the decision to not buy gifts. But we are givers. Maybe there's an app for that?