As a Gift

It’s the season to examine your holiday gift list. You’ll have to figure out who gets a present – but also how much you’re actually going to spend and, most importantly, what to get.

In the UK, the average household spends around £500 on gifts during the traditional holiday season, equalling Americans who spend about $650. And although giving gifts can make you happy, communicate your feelings toward the receiver and even strengthen relationships, a less-than-stellar gift can have the opposite effect.

“Choosing the wrong gift can be kind of risky for relationships because it says you don’t have anything in common,” says Elizabeth Dunn, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia in Canada and co-author of Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending. Her research has also showed that undesirable gifts can sometimes negatively impact the receiver’s perception of a relationship’s future potential.

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