Christmas jumpers, diet books and plastic surgery vouchers are among the
least wanted festive gifts – but four in ten will fake joy when
receiving them, a survey has found.
They are seen as boring and impersonal presents, given as the last
resort after running out of ideas. But putting a ten pound note in an
envelope or buying someone an interesting book is actually likely to
make them pretty happy.
On average, we receive eight Christmas presents and hate two of them,
even though they are worth £87.
A study has found gifts like books and money may not have the ‘wow’
factor but provide more satisfaction long-term.
Nationwide, that means a total of £4.4billion is wasted on 104million
unwanted gifts. Men most dread receiving gaudy ties, ridiculous
Christmas jumpers and cartoon socks。
Researchers from the National University of Singapore and the University
of Chicago conducted six experiments asking people about giving and
receiving gifts. They found gift-givers prefer those expected to produce
smiles or gasps of joy, but people receiving them prefer gifts which
will make them happy over the long-term.
Topping women’s list of unwanted presents are diet books, tacky
ornaments and plastic surgery vouchers。
Dr Adelle Yang, who led the study from the department of marketing at
the National University of Singapore, said: ‘Despite best intentions,
gift-giving often goes wrong and recipients end up not being satisfied
with what they are given.
A quarter of the 2,000 adults surveyed admitted buying gifts they know
the recipient will dislike。
‘Our research suggests that a key reason that gift-givers give
unsatisfactory gifts is that they are keen to elicit bright smiles or
squeals of delight with their gifts and that such reactions are
frequently not paired with gifts that are deeply valued.’
The poll, which was carried out by lastminute.com, also revealed that
what men and women most want is cash to spend on themselves, while 18
per cent would like a beach holiday。
The study found almost 40 percent of men would choose a dozen roses over
a bonsai tree to buy their partner for Valentine’s Day. But just 27.8
percent of women preferred the bouquet to the house plant. Men chose the
present they thought would get the best reaction, but that was not as
important to the people receiving it.
When the researchers asked 80 people for their favorite gifts, books and
money came out among the top for satisfaction, despite causing little in
the way of smiles or squeals.
Further analysis of 198 people and 600 Christmas gifts found tools like
a cordless drill often get little reaction but provide high
satisfaction. Frivolous items like cupcakes, produce a good reaction,
such as a big smile, but low satisfaction.
Another experiment found gift-givers preferred personalized mugs but
people given them preferred less thoughtful ergonomic ones designed to
be easy to use.
The study, published in the journal?Psychological Science, found
people are more likely to try to get a reaction from presents if they
are present to see them being opened.
Almost half of gift-givers surveyed by researchers chose pretty wrapping
paper over an upgrade to the present, when expecting to see it unwrapped
in person. This fell to less than 28 percent if the present was sent by
Dr Yang added: ”This research suggests gift-givers may be able to spot
gifts that would be deemed satisfying by recipients but that their gift
choices are often dominated by a wish to get positive reactions.
‘Unfortunately money and books tend not to evoke the bright smiles which
come from gifts appealing directly to the senses, such as fresh flowers
and nicely-decorated sweets. But these flowers and sweets have less