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How to Give the Perfect Gift This Holiday Season

Gift-giving can be a mildly stressful, sometimes downright chaotic, holiday chore. Whether we are a good gifter or not, we all generally strive to be. We want to feel the joy in our hearts when someone opens their gift and is truly surprised, truly excited, and actually likes their gift.

Here are my top tips to making sure you give the best gifts so that you and everyone on your list this year is satisfied!

1. If someone gave you a list of things they'd like, it's wise to stick to that list. It may not feel very thoughtful, and it may almost feel like a bit of a cheat. But according to a 2011 study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, gift givers often believe their off-list gifts will be well-received, when in reality the person receiving the gift always said that they wished the person had just stuck to the list. Conversely, try to listen to any hints these people may drop while they're around you for things they may want or need. The best place to find out what a person wants is from the person themselves.

2. Think that adding a little $10 gift card for Starbucks or iTunes with your bigger gift will make it that much better (especially if it goes well with your bigger gift)? Think again! Studies show that bundling a big, generous present with a little extra “stuffer” actually detracts from the appreciation of your big gift. Researchers discovered that recipients subconsciously “average the values of the individual components when forming an impression of the bundle overall,” says Kimberlee Weaver, associate professor of marketing at Virginia Tech. So they actually value your present less if you bundle something big with several little things. If you're thinking of getting someone something