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5 Ways to Conquer Gift Guilt

Conquer Gift Guilt

Everybody likes to surprise each other by giving gifts during the holiday season, however, getting gifts is a totally different story.

Receiving gifts has a propensity to manifest remorse, also known as ‘Gift Guilt’ for some odd reason.

Why is that the case here? Because gift-giving and receiving are expected for the holidays, it makes no sense from a rational point of view. Everyone knows it is coming, but holiday goers are still guilty, without any doubt.

First of all, you need to know the driving forces behind this guilt. Once you comprehend them, you will be able to understand and apply the 5 ways to conquer gift guilt in your life.

Why Do You Feel the Guilt?

Gift guilt can make the holiday season bothersome because there are some psychological triggers. Fortunately, once you understand the various causes, you can feel a lot more comfortable and be able to curb guilt.

Adam’s Equity Theory

This theory focuses on deciding if “all relationship partners are equal in the allocation of resources”.

When it comes to giving presents, individuals are always concerned that the gift they offer is equal to the perceived worth of the gift they receive.

There are questions such as: What do you do if the cost of the gift differs? What do you do when someone doesn’t like the gift you’ve offered them? Or the strongest, what if I receive a gift I don’t like?

Unfortunately, to uphold Adam’s philosophy, there is no way to guarantee that each person’s gift would be equivalent in perceived worth.

Expectancy Theory

The theory of expectation explains: A person may behave or act in a certain way, because of what they expect from that chosen behavior. They are driven to choose a particular behavior over other behavior.

In simple words, you do something, expecting a certain action to result.

For gift-giving, you practice gift-giving conduct with the hope that the gift will be appreciated by the receiver.

The unknown here is the emotional reaction to the receiver. They still need to behave normally even if they don’t like the gift, hiding the emotional response and putting out one that the other person wishes you to expect.

Therefore, there is a substantial period of anticipation that people have to think and worry about.

There are several other explanations why, when it comes to accepting gifts, individuals can experience anxiety.

Most specifically, gift guilt experiences arise when: You are getting a gift suddenly, but you were not prepared for correspondence, you are not particularly fond of the gift that you got, you see yourself indebted to the individual who gave you the gift.

Now that you know the reasons, let’s see the 5 ways to conquer gift guilt:

1. Take the Attention off of Yourself

The kind person surprised you with a gift to show love. Whether you asked for it doesn’t matter. If you think you deserve it or not, it does not matter. What matters is that the person who gifted it to you should be honored.

When you offer a gift, do you know how amazing you feel? Believe it or not, it is the same thing they want!

They want you to be overwhelmed by something meaningful you desired or something they inspired you to have.

You don’t usually just offer anything just for the heck of it. Try to understand the meaning behind it. You give something because you love someone, or because you saw something you thought they were going to love, and you wanted them to have it.

2. Appreciate Their Gift and Sentiments for You

Although you probably genuinely appreciate that this individual has gone out of their way to do anything good for you (most likely because they care about you), your mind focuses on thoughts such as “How will I manage to buy them something this nice” or “this present is more emotional than what I got them.”

By pushing yourself into the moment, you will overcome these feelings. Look at the face of the other person and remember how excited they are about offering this gift to you. They send you something to convey that they care for you, and are rewarded with your acceptance of their token of affection.

3. Understand that People Feel Good by Giving Gifts

If you refuse to take the gifts, the message being sent to the gift-giver is that you felt bad about their intentions of trying to make you feel good.

Though your intentions are not to hurt their sentiments, rejecting their gifts is not the right way.

We are, in a way, behaving very selfishly if we are actively denying the thoughtfulness of others, because we are taking their opportunity to feel good by giving us a gift and making us smile.

4. Don’t Put Excessive Pressure on Yourself

Bear in mind that the mutual giving act was never intended to bring an obligation to reach or surpass the value of the object you were gifted.

Reciprocal giving is intended to show the other person that you, too, have been thinking about them and that you care about them as well. Besides, economic conditions vary from person-to-person and from household-to-household.

It is all right if your loved one gave you a costly wristwatch, and you gave them a home-made batch of their favorite cookies in exchange. They would appreciate the sentiment if they really care for you.

5. Stop Overthinking About the Gifts

It is quick to start feeling bad when faced with buying presents for several people. if you have anything particularly sentimental for your wife, while giving your father and cousins, for example, a generic gift.

In some way, this may sound like you being unreasonable, but the truth is that all the time, you may not always find the perfect gift for everybody. So, remind yourself that this is all right.


Don’t feel like a gift is not made for you or you don’t deserve it. In fact, acknowledge the person and their love for you.

There is no reason to feel bad about a gift being presented. Admire and appreciate the person who gave the gift to you. You deserve a fantastic gift – you are awesome! Own that and also encourage them to feel great.

About the Author
Rick Anderson is a professional Content writer & Content Marketer at QRG Tech. Based in California, he is an author and blogger with experience in composing various topics, including but not limited to Home, Decor, Technology, Food, Marketing/Advertising, Travel, Lifestyle, etc.