Gift box including body scrub, a candle and tea bags

The psychology behind gift-giving

How many times have you offered a gift to a loved one on their birthday or other special occasion and not really given it much thought?

We’re all guilty of grabbing the most obvious — and possibly unimaginative — item, especially when we’re under pressure.

But just pause for a few minutes while we take you through the psychology of gift-giving. In this post, we’re going to discover why we give gifts, as well as what makes the perfect present.

Why do we give gifts?

Gift-giving has been practised since forever. It’s believed that primitive people exchanged items such as animal teeth and stones to strengthen bonds and show respect. So it shows that the reasons behind gift-giving haven’t changed that much at all!

When you excitedly watch a friend open a gift from you, those positive vibes validate your mutual feelings and help develop your relationship.

As an extension of this, gift-giving is also a way to show that you care. It’s actually easier for many to offer a thoughtfully chosen pressie to say I care, I’m sorry or I love you. That’s why flowers are traditionally given on Valentine’s Day or to express complex emotions when someone has suffered a bereavement.

Giving a gift may also be symbolic. An example of this is corporate gift-giving. If you’ve just clinched a deal with a new client at work, bottles of wine or items customised with company branding may be exchanged as a symbol of your new working relationship.

You may also give a gift as an altruistic act to help someone else out. In this case, your gift does not have to be a physical item. It could be the gift of your time when you volunteer for a community group or a donation to a charitable cause.

What are the different types of gifts?

Over the years, researchers have studied not only the motivation behind gift-giving but also the different types of gifts in depth.

They’ve concluded that gifts come in four main types:

  • Gifts that reflect the giver
  • Gifts that reflect the giver’s knowledge of the recipient
  • Gifts that reflect the occasion
  • Gifts that can contain more than one meaning

What makes the perfect pressie?

The burning question is, which type makes the perfect pressie?

Here at oh-hello! we are firmly in the 'gifts that reflect the giver’s knowledge of the receiver' camp. That’s because this type of gift is the one that’s thoughtful, befits the occasion and is the perfect way to say you care!

What else makes a great gift? We also believe that small is beautiful. The grand gestures don’t always resonate the deepest.

Practical things are great too in more ways than one. When you use something given as a gift, you get those warm, fuzzy feelings, as they remind you of the giver.

And we’re suckers for pretty packaging, so why not throw that into the mix too?

Still searching for that gorgeous gift?

We’re not ones to brag, but our gorgeous little gift boxes sum up what we’ve learnt about gift-giving!

You get to choose the goodies that reflect your loved one’s taste and can include practical stuff like a scrunchie or lip balm as well as the frivolous stuff. Your choices are packaged in a small but beautifully designed box — call it the icing on the cake!

Want to know more? Browse our customised and curated gift boxes to find out why they make the perfect presents for the people you love!