Partial transcript: Episode 13 (Gifting)
Virginia: We’re approaching the holiday season. I’m interested in hearing all of your best strategies for giving the best gifts.
Andrew: Know your target.
Virginia: We’re talking about gift giving, not hunting.
Andrew: They’re roughly the same thing, right?
Nick: I think the key is to not set an arbitrary dollar amount. That’s the easiest way to completely wreck gift giving.
Virginia: What’s the most you’ve ever spent on a gift?
Nick: I think the most I’ve spent is $2,500. That was for my sister. I got her this badass laptop. It was an awesome gift, and it blew her away. My parents helped too, but it was my idea.
Andrew: I spent $1,000 buying a new TV for Nicole. I also get to use it myself…
Nick: Those aren’t very good gifts. Was it a surprise? No. You talked about it, and it was planned.
Andrew: My family doesn’t really do surprise gifts.
Nick: When someone surprises you with a good gift, it’s that much better.
Virginia: There’s happiness research that suggests that anticipation is better than actually getting the gift. If you tell someone about the gift, they anticipate it for longer, and it makes it that much more fun.
Andrew: I can see that.
Nick: Unless you oversell the gift.
Andrew: My family would ask what I wanted for Christmas. They’d get it, but you couldn’t open it until Christmas. The anticipation was always so high.
Nick: That would never work in my family. If I wanted something that was within my price range, I’d just go get it.
Virginia: You can’t delay gratification for a few months?
Nick: Not if I can afford it. That’s a big deal. I’d rather have one really big gift than twenty small gifts.
Virginia: That is totally contrary to everything that happiness research suggests.
Andrew: You’re not living your life in the most scientifically optimal way.
Virginia: Economists would suggest that spreading your happiness out over several smaller occasions is actually more fulfilling than one big gift. You essentially spend your happiness all in one spot.
Andrew: So give small gifts over time?
Virginia: Yeah. So Hanukah would be the best strategy. You have an anticipation for a new gift each day, and you get to satisfy it. You get to do it over the course of a month or so.
Andrew: I could see that. For small stuff, I tend to buy stuff that I want.
Nick: I gift to myself that way. I don’t give to others that way.
Virginia: What’s the best gift you’ve ever gotten?
Nick: I don’t know. I’m a hard person to buy for. I’ve always had a job. I’ve always had disposal income. If you’re willing to work for something, you can get whatever you want.
Andrew: Getting my car was one of the best gifts. It was awesome. It was freedom.
Virginia: I’m sure you’ve gotten gifts that aren’t actually gifts.
Nick: My mom buys me underwear every year. She thinks it’s the funniest thing ever.
Virginia: Does she give it to everyone?
Andrew: She’s just trolling you.
Nick: I figured out how to get her back. I’ve started requesting underwear now. But I ask for the nice kind. So, she has to get me nice underwear.
Virginia: Now you don’t have to shop for it.
Nick: That is true. I hate shopping for underwear.
Andrew: It never bothers me that much.
Virginia: It must be a different experience for women.
Andrew: The weirdest gift I’ve ever gotten was a Barbie. My aunt gave it to me as a joke when I was about twelve. I was so embarrassed.
Virginia: It’s funny that the first thing I thought of was what kind of Barbie it was. It somehow mattered to me whether it was a Malibu Barbie or princess Barbie.
Andrew: All I know is that I opened it up and yelled, “Get it away from me!”
Nick: My worst gift ever was from my grandmother.
Virginia: You know, I was thinking the same thing.
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