With Father’s Day fast approaching, I wanted to share some fantastic research into the effects of gift-giving and provide some ideas on how to give your Dad a gift he will truly treasure.

Studies have found that if the gift is valued by the recipient, they feel valued by the giver and so thoughtfulness is key, not expense.  (Zhang, Chen, Xie & Zhao, 2017).

There are a host of ways to use research alongside some helpful tips and tricks to make sure your gift gives your Dad an extra warm feeling this Father’s Day.  

  • A bottle of you’re Dad’s favorite tipple, may be seen as an option, but explaining why you think he may love this particular bottle can demonstrate that there is thought behind the gift. 
    • Consider a liquor that has a story behind it, or that he may not already know about, an example could be Mortlach Whisky, which offers ages at multiple price points, and uses a distinct distilling process and although it is 200 years old, it is still relatively unknown. 

  • Think about choosing an experience. Studies have shown that experiential purchases like dinner out, vacations, and concerts are more likely to bring more long-lasting happiness than material gifts such as jewelry or clothing. This is due to what is called hedonic adaptation or the hedonic treadmill in psychology: even after a positive event that may boost happiness, people constantly return to their baseline or default level of happiness. The treadmill comes in when we continually try things to boost our happiness again, only to have it fall back to the default. (Gilovich & Kumar, 2015) Studies have suggested that materialistic gifts are more prone to hedonic adaptation than experiential ones. This is called the “experiential advantage.” (Chu, 2022)
    • For Dads in particular, who usually are making sure everyone else is taken care of, giving your Dad something uniquely for her can be really special:. 
      • A cooking  or a knife skills class
      • A night out with friends without having to worry about finding a babysitter

  • There's almost nothing more that Dad’s love than to see their kids shine in their most authentic way, if you have a talent you can share, your Dad will love to see it:
    • Draw a picture
    • Write poetry - ‘An Ode to Dad’
    • Play or write a song for him

  • If you don’t know what your Dad treasures, ask your Dad questions and think about how you can gift around them, odds are your Dad will not realize that you’re scoping gift ideas out. Some ideas include:
    • What is the best gift you have ever received?
    • What was the most memorable gift you have ever received?
    • What memories bring you joy? 

  • If you’re really stuck on what your Dad would like, another great way to gift is giving something that means something to you and inserting a gift card to tell your Dad why. For example: “I found this towel and instantly thought of learning to swim when we were kids” 
    • Using inside jokes or monograms
    • sites like Not Another Bill are great to personalise gifts

  • If you’re time-poor, consider a gift card to his favorite shop or restaurant and book a night for him so he doesn’t forget to use it.

Beth explains that it’s not all about the actual gift either, it may seem basic but there are a few must-dos when gift-giving:

  • Hand write the note and card, research has shown that hand written notes are more likely to make the person reading them think highly of the writer and identify them as ‘someone who makes me feel good 

  • Also fascinating info about the perceived feeling of gratitude from recipients from a handwritten postcard vs typed postcards with various different fonts. The handwritten cards were evaluated the highest because:

  • Make sure to take the price tag off. Nothing says that you put little thought and effort into a gift than not taking the time to make sure the tag is removed. It may help to give yourself a checklist to ensure that you don’t forget.

  • Wrap your Gift! A study found that a gift's attractiveness can improve how the gift is received, so take the time to make it look attractive: wrap it, add a bow and a card.’ (Zhang, Chen, Xie & Zhao, 2017)

Finally, to help with gifts in the future use note-taking app such as Notes, GoogleKeep, or Microsoft One Note, you can even send emails to yourself and create a gift idea folder. You can also use a good old-fashioned notebook or file. Include images or links for future purchases. Pinterest boards are one example of an easy way to collect ideas and inspiration for gift-giving across the board.