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SHIFT #12 – The ultimate Diwali gifting guide, using science 

shift frictionless diwali

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Diwali is around the corner.

Aside from lips smacking over mithai and fireworks, the sound of wrapping paper and “oh, you shouldn’t have!” is about to echo in all our homes.

So, if you’re off to shop for gifts for your friends and family this weekend, we thought we’d help make your decisions easier.

No more generic souvenirs and dry-fruits that will never make it out of the cupboard.

🎁 Get gifting right – the behaviour science way

1. Remove the pain: Find a problem your loved one is facing. How can you remove it? A friend wants to eat healthier but cannot find the time? Set them up with a healthy food delivery service. A family member has been complaining about back pain? Gift them a massage. Your sister has been wanting to go on a solo-trip? Babysit her cat!

Look for something they have explicitly complained about. Remove the barrier that’s keeping them from it. It will mean more than an expensive set of teacups. Happiness doesn’t come from adding positives. It comes from removing negatives.

2. The gift of experience: We remember experiences for longer. Our brains keep them stored in memory. Physical gifts are easy to buy and they work, as they provide instant gratification. But years down the line, your cousin may not think about the satin tie you gifted. He will reminisce about the time you saw the perfect sunset on your hike. Create an emotional peak – a positive moment that stands out – and they will remember it.

You gifted them your time and created memories. The moments of happiness in the ordinary course of events always stick in memory.

3. Give them what they want: It’s simple. Your niece has been eying a lunch bag that looks impressively like a purse. She has been gushing about the clever design. But she thinks it’s obscenely expensive for a lunch bag. What do you get her?

Buying people something they want but would never buy for themselves does two things: it shows you pay attention, and it makes you the best aunt/uncle around!

In a series of five experiments, researchers found that recipients were more appreciative of gifts they explicitly asked for than those they didn’t.

When you understand and meet people’s wants and desires, you earn their trust and affection.

4. People are unique, treat them uniquely: What do you gift someone you’ve never met? Or met a long time ago? The best bet is to stick to a safe option – but make it your own. Go general but not generic.

Everyone believes they are unique. This is reinforced when a gift or experience is unique too. Ditch the traditional mithai and opt for baklava. Swap the dinner coupons for a “make your own pizza” experience.

Whenever we encounter something ordinary with a twist, we feel drawn to it. It triggers our seeking behaviour.

A gift with a dopamine rush? Now that’s a good gift.

🎇 Rapid-fire tips:

– Gift experiences with a fixed date. This creates accountability. You want them to look forward to the experience, not worry about scheduling a day so they don’t waste your money.

– Don’t create a burden. Always prioritize ease. If you cannot teach grandma how to use the iPad, don’t gift it.

– Just because it’s the most expensive, it isn’t the best. Don’t leave your recipients feeling obligated. The usefulness of your gift far outweighs the price of your gift.


Gift for adventures

Gift to eliminate pain (from massages to plumbers)

Gift to learn something new

Wishing you a joyous, prosperous, frictionless Diwali! 💥

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