The gift exchange process may seem fairly straightforward, particularly for those who enjoy giving presents, but scientific researchers actually have studied gift giving practices very carefully. An entire body of scholarly literature exists that examines the giver-recipient relationship and the surprisingly complex art of selecting the most fitting gift. This article relays some of the highlights from the existing research on gifts and suggests that a premium memory foam pillow surprisingly satisfies the key requirements for an excellent gift.
Scholars have published countless articles on the research they have carried out on the art of the perfect gift. In one recent publication, a team of psychologists analyzed the relative weight that people place on the positive feelings that a recipient has upon opening their gift versus the value of a gift that is less exciting in the moment but provides more satisfaction over time. For example, a strange gift that makes everyone laugh provides some immediate pleasure for both giver and receiver, but rarely leads to any additional use or pleasure beyond that initial moment.
The researchers argued that their studies suggest that it is much better to give gifts that will satisfy the recipient in the long run rather than providing a single moment of laughter. Another research project discovered that an individual can give an identical present to multiple people without undermining the value of their gift. Many people struggle around holidays to find unique gifts for each person on their list, but a University of Cincinnati study recently suggested that this move is actually a mistake. Gift givers seeking to give a different gift to every single person end up selecting sub-par gifts instead of selecting one or two excellent gifts that they can offer to each person in their life.
Yet another gift study found that people tend to falter in their gift-giving ventures by trying to select fancy gifts that ultimately fail to satisfy the recipient for various reasons. For example, many people have given virtual reality headsets to their family and friends as gifts, but in many cases individuals have little use for these technological luxuries. The study suggested that the majority of people actually prefer practical gifts that they would have eventually bought for themselves.
Checklist for the Perfect Gift
A recent article in NY Magazine’s “Science of Us” column gathered these studies together with many others in an effort to provide some basic guidelines for gift giving. A close reading of that article yields the following gift-giving checklist:
1. Aim for gifts that will provide long-term, consistent satisfaction rather than one brief moment of humor or a quick burst of pleasure.
2. Stress the thought that went into selecting the gift.
3. Resist the temptation to purchase the most recent fad item instead of selecting a useful gift.
4. Pick a gift item that the recipient would need to purchase for themselves eventually anyway.
5. Give the same excellent gift to many different people instead of settling for mediocre gifts out of fear of giving two people the same item.
Quality, Memory Foam Pillows as Gifts
When people think about giving the perfect gift to their family or friends, they rarely consider the pillow as a viable option. The pillow, however, is arguably the most frequently used item that most individuals own. Those who have bought premium pillows usually attest to the difference that their pillows make for their quality of sleep and, therefore, their quality of life.
If one runs a quality, memory foam bamboo pillow through the checklist from the previous section, the pillow emerges as a surprisingly promising gift option. The pillow provides long-term pleasure (#1) and is certainly quite useful (#3). The gift giver can easily explain to the recipient the thought that went into their gift selection (#2) and the pillow gift saves the recipient a trip to the store when their old pillow ceases work (#4). Finally, gift givers can easily purchase pillows in large quantities so that they can give them to multiple people, saving the giver time and saving the recipient from the awkward experience of receiving a unique, but ultimately useless, gift.
Recap: The Pillow as a Fitting Gift
Nearly every human society contains some form of gift-giving process, so researchers spend considerable time studying the nature of gift-giving. A group of recent scientific studies yielded a useful, science-based checklist for evaluating one’s gift selection. A quality, memory foam pillow surprisingly satisfies all of the requirements on that scientific checklist.