For some, a skin care gift can be a risk. For those who understand the likes and wants of those close to them it is often the perfect gift. We polled people on Facebook to ask if they would give a skin care product to friends or family members. The overriding answer was Yes, as long as it wasn’t specifically identified for damaged skin or as an anti-aging product.
Women especially liked the idea of giving skin care as a gift. One said she likes receiving such gifts as body and face creams because she doesn’t buy them for herself. Others said they like to give skin care products they love, believing that the recipient of such a gift will love it too. Some added a caveat regarding their relationship with the recipient: “Only if I know them well enough.” A man replied “No, unless it was a specific request for a certain product by my wife.” It appears skincare gifts are reserved for more than skin-deep relationships.
Such uncertain feelings around gift giving may swirl in one’s mind but are rarely discussed except by psychologists who study gift giving. For gift givers who give time and thought into what gift to buy, the rewards come more from the act than from the recipient. Giving gifts stimulates the brain’s neural activity more than receiving gifts. The act of gift giving offers us an emotional lift.
Men and women often differ in in their gift giving practices. Men on average are more practical-oriented, while women tend to emphasize the emotional sentiment of a gift according to research conducted at University of California, Davis.
But what is the right gift? Gift giving is a decision according to clinical psychologist and grandmother Susan Heitler, Ph.D. She says you should clarify any of your existing concerns. You may be concerned about whether the gift is appropriate given the relationship you have with the recipient, or the cost, or how memorable you want it to be. You should also know what’s available. Looking around in stores or surfing the Internet can bring new ideas for gift giving.
Researchers do not agree on the benefits of creating and buying from gift lists. Psychologist Dan Ariely thinks buying from a list requires little effort or thoughtfulness. He believes the unrequested gift is best because it proves social bonds. Others such as Dr. Epley at the University of Chicago say it is best to get what the person has asked for. We are all givers and receivers so it may be best to draw on your own experience.
Finally, Nancy Berns, Ph.D. suggests that if you can’t find the right gift, you may be looking in the wrong places. A rare gift that everyone appreciates is to simply listen. This is how she describes the gift of listening. “The key to presenting this gift lies in what not to do. Do not try to fix someone. Do not try to take away the pain. Do not talk too much. Do not judge or give advice. Do not be afraid of tears or silence. Listen. The world is short on listeners, and this gift will never lose its value.”
This reminds me how important it is to be present for our loved ones. Gift giving is personal. Consider a luxury body cream that creates a spa experience at home or a face cream that freshens and reinvigorates day and night.