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Gift-giving is a highly symbolic form of communication. Are you a good gift giver? In this podcast you will learn how to think about gift-giving more rationally, with research-based tips about what matters and what doesn’t. Here’s a hint: We should worry less about how much money we spend. It’s typically the “low substance, high sentiment” gifts that are appreciated. It really is the thought that counts!
🎧 Link to Podcast HERE
Printable PDF of ShowNotes HERE

* Summary
* References & Links
* Transcript

Gift-Giving is Significant

* Gift-giving is a form of communication.  It is highly symbolic.
* Gift giving is prevalent, accounting for approximately 10% of retail-sales.  We give birthday gifts, wedding gifts, thank you gifts, Christmas gifts, hostess gifts,…
* There is a perpetual system of gift-giving in our culture: giving, receiving, reciprocating.

Symbolism in Gift-Giving

* Gifts represent the giver’s self-identity, his or her feelings about the receiver, and his or her feelings about their relationship.
* Gift-giving is emotion-laden and impacted by rituals and traditions that are formed by individuals’ culture and personal family upbringing.

The Gift-Giving 2×2 Matrix

* Receivers typically do not appreciate the extremes (too expensive or too cheap, too much thought & effort, or no thought & effort). People generally prefer gifts somewhere in the middle.
* The most appreciated gifts are often the low substance, high sentiment gifts (bottom right).  “It’s the thought that counts!”

Gift-Giving Anxiety? NO WORRIES!

* We should worry less about how much money we spend. Low substance, high sentiment gifts are appreciated – it really is the thought that counts!)
* As for those gift registries and wish lists – just buy from them! Stop trying to go above and beyond. Just give them what they want.


References & Links

* Mauss, Marcel (1924) THE GIFT
* Belk, Russell W. (1976) “It’s The Thought That Counts: A Signed Digraph Analysis of Gift-Giving” Journal of Consumer Research
* Belk & Coon (1991) “Can’t Buy me Love: Money, Dating & Gifts” Association for Consumer Research
* Geisler, Markus (2006) “Consumer Gift Systems” Journal of Consumer Research
* Sherry, John F. (1983) “Gift-Giving in Anthropological Perspective” Journal of Consumer Research
* Sherry, McGrath & Levy (1993) “The Dark Side of the Gift” Journal of Business Research
* Ward, Morgan K., & Broniarczyk, Susan M. (2011) “It’s Not Me, It’s You: How Gift Giving Creates Giver Identity Threat as a Function of Social Closeness” Journal of Consumer Research
* Wooten, David B. (2000) “Qualitative Steps Toward an Expanded Model of Anxiety in Gift-Giving” Journal of Consumer Research

Professor Russell Belk

* Professor Belk’s York University Schulich faculty page
* Talk About Talk episode #17: What Our Possessions Say

Talk About Talk & Dr. Andrea Wojnicki

* Free Weekly Email Blog &#8211; <a style="color: #000000;" href="https://talkabouttalk.