The Psychology of Handmade Gifts
The gifting season is upon us and it is time to decide what gifts to give loved ones. There is no better feeling than giving someone special the perfect gift and seeing their smile when they open it. Here at Country Baskets we are always looking for innovative ways to create those special gifts.
We wanted to find out the psychology behind generosity and receiving homemade gifts. Why is it that the gifts we make ourselves can be more satisfying than a very expensive gift? With help from psychologists and bloggers we’ve taken a deeper look into handmade gifts and the psychology behind them.
First let’s look at the psychology of gift giving:
Holds a PhD in Social Psychology and is also the writer behind ‘Random Assignment’ where he discusses how social psychology can contribute to the understanding of our lives.
Dave points out that we may overestimate how great our hand-picked gifts are:
“We often overestimate how much the thought will count in a carefully picked gift, but I think that's less true with a gift we make ourselves. Sometimes it can be worth putting a handmade touch on even a purchased gift, or even to find some way to make clear how carefully a gift was selected.
The care taken in choosing often gets under-appreciated, the gift's recipient can easily fail to see the careful comparison you did in choosing just the right sweater, because they see only the sweater you ended up choosing.
Even though the recipient isn't much happier with a carefully chosen gift (compared to the same gift chosen with less care), the gift giver feels closer to the recipient. So really, in some sense the benefit is going to the giver not the receiver (a twist on the "better to give than receive" idea). Spending so much time thinking about that person and what they might like makes you feel closer to them.”
Voice coach and psychotherapist specializing in technical and emotional issues that interfere with self-expression. Jennifer writes for a variety of publications and also her personal blog, ‘Finding your voice’.
Jennifer believes that we put a value on our relationships from the gifts we receive:
“For many, the idea of a making a gift– or actually constructing anything themselves– is an unfamiliar one. Whereas for others, who do create and craft things, purchasing or receiving a purchased gift could be seen as a sign of a lack of consideration or thoughtfulness. For many, presents represent how much a person values the relationship.
Whether for the way we were raised or how we've chosen to relate to holidays and the practice of giving gifts, we might have an entirely different view of the matter, it would be a mistake for someone to assume that because they weren't given a gift – or one that in their eyes is meaningful or special – that the person giving it didn't care. Similarly, just because someone is extremely generous during the holidays doesn't necessarily mean that they are thoughtful or caring.”
Now let’s hear from the bloggers who are making the gifts:
Writer and creator of ‘this heart of mine’ where all the things she makes and all the things she loves come together.
Amy believes that making is just natural for some of us:
“Some of us have to make, it's just in our nature to be creative. To me, giving a homemade gift is like giving a part of myself. I feel good sharing myself with those I love and it's fabulous to get something homemade!”
Amy’s three top tips for giving creative homemade gifts are:
- Keep it simple
- Do something you feel confident in
- Set reasonable goals
The writer behind ‘never plain Jane’; the place showing what she is about - Creativity. Now. Always.
“If you receive a handmade gift you know it was made just for you. I view that as better value for money than anything I could buy that had been mass produced. To know that someone took time out of their day to spend time making something just for me means such a lot.”
Jane is lucky to have a creative husband and daughter who make homemade gifts which is what she wishes for this Christmas and says “I'm always spoiled with homemade things”.
Jane’s three top tips for giving creative homemade gifts are:
- Try not to take on too much
- Embrace simplicity
- Don’t start a new hobby or craft in December!
It seems that the perfect gift is in the eye of the beholder and unfortunately we might not always know what that is. However, one thing that we can all agree on is that the thought and effort behind a handmade gift is always appreciated.
Do you enjoy making and receiving homemade gifts? We would love for you to share them with us.