Optimistic bias: Human beings tend to be unrealistically optimistic. Most people think they are better than the average driver and less likely to be involved in a serious accident. When people give presents, unrealistic optimism goes off the charts. We are often amazed that people don’t love what we’ve selected. Please don’t be. (And please consider avoiding the optimistic exclamation, “You’re going to love it!”)

Finding gifts for people when you’re unsure of what to give them can be terribly stressful. Bloomberg has an interesting post from a behavioral economist discussing how and why people mis-give gifts, but the point at the end about how you can never really “mis-give” as long as you’re giving something is what I find most important: “Unless you are dealing with someone who really cares about what you get them, you should worry a lot less (and maybe spend less, too).”


7 Comments / Post A Comment

Whoa Love Actually was just on TV and I happened to catch that scene, it was so heartbreaking.

TheDilettantista (#1,255)

I really enjoyed this article, especially as it is holiday on a budget time now. I only give gifts to family and my boyfriend, but this year I’m planning on giving mainly experience-based gifts, such as gift certificates to restaurants that I know the recipient enjoys and frequents on a regular basis. Everyone else (coworkers, friends, etc.) pretty much gets a bag of homemade cookies or chocolates–not necessarily the most cost effective things sometimes (I went a little overboard on holiday mint-chocolate bark last year in terms of buying high-quality chocolate), but it is always satisfying to DIY, and people are so appreciative of home-made things. Also, everyone likes cookies right?

Megs (#644)

This wins for best/worst photo to go with the article. I just look at her in that movie and start to cry.

honey cowl (#1,510)

It is quite devastating, in fact.

julebsorry (#1,572)

I’m taking a page out of “Scrooged” this year – everyone gets either a VCR, or a towel (seriously, I’ve always loved this idea).

KatNotCat (#766)

@julebsorry I think a couple of really nice towels would go over well with the majority of adults, honestly.

TARDIStime (#1,633)

@julebsorry I’m leaving home this weekend – send those towels to meeeee!

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