Ah, the agonies and the ecstasies of gift giving! When it works, it’s like a kind of magic, bringing everyone closer together. When it doesn’t…well, we’ve all been there. Put simply: it hurts. Bad. But why is it sometimes so hard? Well, it’s probably no surprise that gifting has been studied, kind of a lot, by everyone from psychologists to economists to sociologists. (In fact, when we were putting dearduck together, we geeked out on the research because it both challenged and backed up our intuitions.) Here, we delve into the findings to reveal how dearduck can turn your gifting frown upside down.

Gifting is Human Nature

As human beings, we’ve been exchanging gifts for a loooong time. It’s a basic human need touching on all the things we love: celebration, recognition, sharing.

The New York Times summed it up nicely: “some researchers believe that evolutionary forces may have favored gift giving.” In other words, even thousands of years back, your generosity and social acumen were a factor in plain old survival.

The WooHoo! Moment

Oh happy day

Oh happy day

There’s nothing that compares to that feeling of opening up the perfect present and feeling like someone totally “gets” you. It’s a moment of feeling seen, heard, and understood. And loved! Likewise, when you give a perfect present and see that joyful, almost childlike reaction, well, it’s basically what we’ll call a “gifting high.” Totally legal and very much encouraged! And get this: research shows that being a giver may be an even more joyful role than being a recipient.

The Waaah! Moment

Deflated BalloonDespite our best intentions, gifting can feel overwhelming and confusing. There are so many options, and yet, when it comes time to purchase a gift, it’s so easy to feel lost. And we’ve all done that overcompensating thing, where, when we just don’t know, we spend more than we’d like to in an attempt to paper over our confusion. But that usually ends up not working out so great, either. Because it’s not about money, it about connection. In fact, research shows that recipients don’t appreciate more expensive gifts that much more.

The dearduck Answer

That’s where we come in. You know how sometimes when you spend a ton of time figuring out a gift, it still doesn’t hit the mark? That’s because it’s pretty much impossible to find the perfect present for someone without knowing what he or she wants. And yet, asking—not to mention telling—can be totally awkward. Even a Wish List has its own, awkward drudgery.

So dearduck gets to know you and the people in your circle. We observe. We listen. We curate. We do all the research and heavy lifting so that you can be the heroic gift-giver you’ve always wanted to be. And the insight we provide—we know so that you don’t have to ask or tell—transforms the whole gifting experience from, you guessed it, waaah to woohoo!

For our founder, Katy Aucoin, a great gift, no matter how big or small, can bring people together. “I want everyone to have the tools they need for giving perfect presents,” she says. “When you care enough to find the right thing, that makes people feel special and loved. If dearduck can make it easy to get it right—because it’s nearly impossible—we can reinforce our relationships in a really meaningful way.”

Going waaaaay back, we all love to give and receive tokens, it’s part of our essential human nature. But there are a lot of factors that make it hard, including our own, well-intentioned-but-mistaken ideas about how to find a good gift. Enough! Welcome to a new era in gifting, courtesy of dearduck. We’re soooo glad you’re joining us, we can’t wait to find perfect presents for you and your loved ones.

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