Client Gifting: Psychology behind why we gift and how it effects our brains

Why do we give gifts?

Gift-giving is a universal practice that has been around for centuries. But what is the psychology behind gift giving? What motivates us to give gifts, and what are the benefits of doing so? The psychology behind giving gifts is a fascinating subject that sheds light on our human nature and social relationships.

The joy of giving

One of the main reasons why we give gifts is the joy it brings to both the giver and the receiver. Studies have shown that giving gifts activates the pleasure centers in our brains, releasing feel-good hormones like dopamine. It not only makes the recipient happy but also boosts the giver's mood and overall well-being. Emiliana Simon-Thomas, PhD, science director at the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, explains “it also activates pathways in the brain that release oxytocin, which is a neuropeptide that signals trust, safety, and connection.”

Expressing love and appreciation

Gifts are a tangible way to communicate our love, gratitude, or appreciation towards others. They serve as outward symbols of our feelings and can strengthen the emotional bond between individuals. Whether it's a small token of affection or a grand gesture, gifts have the power to convey emotions that words sometimes fail to express.

Building and maintaining relationships

Gift-giving plays a crucial role in building and maintaining relationships. It helps to establish social connections, foster goodwill, and create a sense of reciprocity. When we give gifts, we show that we value the other person and care about the relationship we have with them. This, in turn, strengthens the bond between individuals and promotes a sense of belonging. Read more on gift giving here, where we unpack the 'why' behind gifting clients and staff. 

The psychology of surprise and anticipation

One of the most exciting aspects of gift-giving is the element of surprise and anticipation. Both the giver and the receiver experience a sense of excitement leading up to the moment of gift exchange. This anticipation triggers positive emotions and heightens the overall experience of giving and receiving gifts. In fact, the American Psychological Association has a fascinating article written on our brains and the chemicals released when both giving and receiving gifts. Emiliana Simon-Thomas, states that when we give gifts to someone we care about, it “activates key reward pathways in our brain, provided we don’t let stress take away the joy of the occasion”. 

The significance of thoughtful gifts

Thoughtful gifts hold a special place in the psychology of gift-giving. When we put effort into selecting a gift that aligns with the recipient's interests, preferences, or needs, it shows that we have taken the time to understand and appreciate them. Thoughtful gifts have a deeper emotional impact and are often cherished for years to come. A simple and very meaningful way to personalize a gift for someone is to laser engrave it -- read more here on our thoughts at Mercy Forest Co. on gift personalization!

The role of social norms and expectations

Social norms and expectations also influence our gift-giving behavior. We often feel obligated to give gifts on special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays. These societal expectations can create pressure and anxiety, as we strive to find the perfect gift that meets the recipient's expectations and reflects our relationship with them. Don't let the 'stress of giving' take away the best parts -- let Mercy Forest Co. help you curate simple and meaningful gifts for all facets of your life. We believe we are gifting experts, and with our help, you will be a gifting ninja in no time! 


The psychology behind giving gifts is a complex and multifaceted subject. From the joy it brings to the expression of love and appreciation, gift-giving plays a significant role in our social interactions and our business day-to-day. Understanding the psychology behind gift-giving can help us make more meaningful and thoughtful choices when it comes to selecting and giving gifts to others. Mercy Forest Co. wants to take this one step further, and help you enjoy the entire process of gifting, but making it completely stress free!