For Valentine’s Day, a holiday when anxieties about choosing the wrong presents can be high, a West Virginia University gifting expert is sharing lessons learned from his gift-giving research.
Julian Givi, assistant professor of marketing in the John Chambers College of Business and Economics, encourages the pursuit of sentimentality in gifts for romantic partners along with family members, friends, recipients at school and work, pets and others.
Each American celebrating Valentine’s Day will spend almost $200 on candy, greeting cards, flowers, an evening out and jewelry, according to the National Retail Federation, putting money on the line with gift selections.
“First of all, don’t forget. Gifts on occasions like Valentine’s Day provide your loved ones signals that you care about them. Forgetting to give a gift can send the opposite message, which is not what you want.
“If you’re early on in a romantic relationship, remember that there is a fine line between giving just enough and giving too little or too much. For relationships in the nascent stages, a single chocolate bar may not be enough, but a pair of diamond earrings will likely be way too much, even if things are off to a great start. Flowers or chocolates are great for relationships that are just getting started.
“Even though we typically give gifts to romantic partners on Valentine’s Day, consider gifting something to others, like parents, as well. They may not expect to receive anything from you. Yet, research indicates that when recipients have no expectation of a present, even the simplest gifts can bring them happiness.
“If you have a longstanding relationship with your recipient, don’t be afraid to go against traditional Valentine’s Day gifting norms and give something nontraditional if you know it’s something they really want. Research shows when recipients have a strong desire for a particular item, they’re happy to receive it even if it doesn’t match traditional norms for the gifting occasion. If you know your recipient really would like, say, an e-reader, go ahead and give it.
“Consider going with something especially sentimental. Research demonstrates that recipients appreciate sentimentality, especially on heartfelt occasions like Valentine’s Day. A scrapbook or thoughtful letter could be cherished for years to come.” — Julian Givi, associate professor, WVU John Chambers College of Business and Economics
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