For many people, shopping for and giving gifts evokes extreme anxiety. Choosing “the right gift” can be a nearly impossible task and takes hours, if not days, to complete.
Giving gifts is even more anxiety-inducing, as several concerns rush through the sufferer’s head. What if the receiver doesn’t like the present or thinks it's “cheap”? What if the recipient already has the item or somehow feels that the gift is indicative of the giver’s ill feelings?
Though many people might view such over-thinking as obsessive or even neurotic, the truth is that gift giving anxiety is a real disorder. According to HealthCentral, gift anxiety is a form of social anxiety that stems from the need for approval or the fear of rejection. Many people who live with this disorder often think in negative ways when it comes to finding and giving gifts. Those who live with the condition often think along lines like these:
- “What if my wife doesn’t like the gift I buy her?”
- “What if my sister already has the item I bought for her?”
- “What if my son thinks I spent more on my daughter?”
- “What if the gift I buy my boss appears too ‘cheap’?”
- “How can I compete with the gift my brother bought my mom for her birthday?
The more anxiety a person feels about a gift for a particular recipient, the higher is the perceived need to impress. If you live with gift giving anxiety or if you experience it when shopping for certain individuals (such as those who have everything), you may wish for ways to reduce your feelings of worry. After all, your anxiety is likely to get in the way of your ability to enjoy the holidays or momentous occasions, such as birthdays, weddings and anniversaries. Below are a few ideas to help you overcome or, at the very least, manage your gifting anxiety.
Pinpoint the Reason for Your Anxiety
Anxiety induced by gifting or receiving can occur for any number of reasons. The key to overcoming your worry is to identify its cause. Do you only experience gifting anxiety when you shop for specific individuals? Does the problem stem from your need to impress, or is it more of a money issue? For many, anxiety associated with gift giving often has to do with finances. These people want to buy meaningful gifts for all their friends and loved ones, but doing so would mean going into the red. Once you pinpoint the root of your concern, you can figure out ways to overcome it.
Focus on the Person, Not on Yourself
Too often, people buy gifts based on their own preferences and needs, not those of the recipient. If your gift anxiety is the result of years of noticing that your gifts routinely go unused, it may be time to approach the gifting process in a new way — with the recipients’ lifestyle and likes in mind.
Buy Based on Your Budget
If money is your concern, don’t feel pressured into purchasing gifts you can’t afford. Doing so is not only unwise financially speaking, but it can also take the joy out of special occasions.
Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash
Refrain From Competing
It’s not uncommon for people to feel a need to match the quality and price-level of a gift given to them the year before. However, this type of competition creates unnecessary anxiety and puts constraints on what should be an effortless shopping experience. Don’t approach the gift buying process with the intent of one-upping a gift given to you but rather with the recipient’s current interests and needs in mind.
Ultimately, the best thing you can do to reduce your anxiety about gift giving is to ask the recipient what he or she wants or needs. You can maintain the element of surprise by requesting the person name a few items and then you select the one that best meets your gifting requirements.
Gift an Unforgettable Experience
In the age of Marie Kando, stuff is overrated, and experiences reign supreme. Experiences such as travel provide recipients the opportunity to make new memories, form new stories and discover more about themselves. But how do you gift an experience?
Skyhours allow you to give the gift of air travel. However, you don’t need to buy the intended recipient a plane ticket or book a cruise or go to other extravagant lengths to gift travel. Skyhours cost just $60, and each is good for one hour of flight on more than 300 airlines. Recipients can use each hour as credit toward a flight to a destination of their choosing. So you can gift someone a flight or part of a flight according to your budget. And, you can purchase skyhours in less than a minute — ideal for those who procrastinate on Holiday shopping! — plus they never expire.
Combatting Gift Receiving Anxiety
Your holidays, birthdays and special occasions may not be characterized by gift giving anxiety but rather, by gift receiving anxiety. Some people are just better at receiving unwanted gifts than others, but fortunately, there are tips you can use to make it seem like you’re a natural:
- Smile: Regardless of how you feel about a gift, the polite and best thing to do is smile. Tell the giver that you appreciate being thought of and that the gift will make a wonderful addition to your home or collection.
- Never Start a Sentence With “Thanks, But…”: Even if you really don’t like a gift or if it’s the wrong size or color, don’t talk about this openly in front of other people, as doing so can make the giver feel inadequate. Instead, thank the person for thinking of you and return the gift, discreetly, later.
- If You’re Empty-Handed: Your gift receiving anxiety may kick up a notch — or rear its ugly head for the first time — when someone hands you a gift, but you don’t have one to give in return. You can alleviate the awkwardness by being honest and saying something like, “Thank you so much, I didn’t expect this, you are so generous.” Resist the urge to run out and make things even right on the spot, as that may prove to be still more awkward.
You can mitigate the final scenario by purchasing skyhours. If you notice ahead of the gift-opening hour that someone unexpectedly brought you a present, you can log into the Skyhour app to seamlessly and discreetly purchase a gift that you can give on the spot. The recipient will be just as flattered by your thoughtfulness as you are for being thought of.
Say Goodbye to Gift Giving Anxiety for Good
Gift giving anxiety and gift receiving anxiety can take a real toll on your holiday season. The holidays and other gift giving occasions should be carefree and, thanks to Skyhour and the above tips, they can be. Buy skyhours for the traveler in your life, the person who seems to have it all or anyone who can benefit from some time away. Skyhours go beyond the thoughtful — they’re priceless, as they offer the recipient something other gifts cannot: The opportunity to go out and experience new experiences, develop new memories and discover the world. You can also gift yourself skyhours if you want to save for your next adventure in a way that doesn’t allow you to access the funds. In preparation for the holiday season, create your Skyhour account today.