The Psychology Behind Excessive Gift Giving: Understanding the Need to Impress

The Relationship Psychology Behind Excessive Gift Giving: Understanding the Need to Impress

In our society, gift-giving has become a common practice to express appreciation, love, and affection towards others. However, there are instances where gift-giving goes beyond the ordinary, becoming excessive and extravagant. This phenomenon raises an intriguing question: why do some individuals feel the need to go above and beyond when it comes to giving gifts?

Gift giving is a beautiful way to express love, appreciation, and care. However, when the act of giving becomes excessive, it can take a toll on both the giver and the recipient. In this article, we'll delve into the psychology behind excessive gift giving, exploring how it impacts mental health, the reasons behind this behavior, and how it affects those involved.

Definition of Excessive Gift Giving

Excessive gift giving refers to the tendency to go beyond the norm in terms of the number, cost, or extravagance of gifts given. It often stems from a desire to impress, seek approval, or fulfill emotional needs through material gestures.

How Giving Can Impact Mental Health

While giving gifts can bring joy, excessive gift giving can have negative implications for mental health. The pressure to meet high expectations and the emotional toll of trying to constantly impress can lead to stress, anxiety, and even feelings of inadequacy.

The Psychology Behind Excessive Gift Giving

Parental Guilt

Excessive gift giving can be driven by parental guilt, where parents feel the need to compensate for perceived shortcomings by showering their loved ones with gifts. This behavior often stems from a desire to provide the best for their children and overcompensate for perceived deficiencies.

Low Self-Esteem

Individuals with low self-esteem may use excessive gift giving as a way to seek validation and boost their self-worth. They believe that by giving lavish gifts, they will be valued and accepted by others.


A materialistic mindset can contribute to excessive gift giving. Materialistic individuals may believe that the value of their relationships is tied to the value of the gifts they give. This leads to a cycle of trying to outdo previous gifts to maintain or elevate their perceived status.


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Causes of Excessive Gift Giving

Excessive gift giving can be influenced by a variety of factors, including societal pressure, cultural norms, personal insecurities, and emotional needs. The need to be seen as generous or successful can drive individuals to overspend on gifts.

How Excessive Gift Giving Affects the Recipient:

Unfulfilled Expectations

When recipients become accustomed to excessive gifts, it can create unrealistic expectations. This can lead to disappointment when the giver is unable to consistently meet these expectations.


Recipients of excessive gifts may experience anxiety about reciprocating in a similarly extravagant manner. The pressure to match the level of gift giving can lead to stress and financial strain.

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Difficulty Expressing Gratitude

Constantly receiving lavish gifts can make recipients feel indebted and uncomfortable. They might struggle to express genuine gratitude when they feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the gifts.

How to Combat Excessive Gift Giving

Reflect on Motivations

take time to understand the motivations behind excessive gift giving and address any underlying emotional needs.

Set Boundaries

Establish spending limits and communicate openly with loved ones about your gifting expectations.

Focus on Thoughtfulness

Shift the focus from the value of the gift to the thought and effort put into selecting it.

Experiences over Materialism

Consider giving experiences or quality time together instead of material gifts.


Understanding the psychology behind excessive gift giving is essential for both givers and recipients. By recognizing the factors that drive this behavior and its potential impact on mental health, we can make more conscious and balanced choices when it comes to expressing love and appreciation. Striking a balance between meaningful gestures and healthy boundaries will lead to more fulfilling relationships and a healthier approach to gift giving


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Facts & Data

These facts must be included in the article.

Fact 1

 According to PwC Canada 2021 Canadian Holiday Outlook report, the 2021 holiday season is set to be a big spender.

Fact 2

According to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, gift-giving is mainly seen as a form of reciprocity and exchange.

Fact 3

Canadian consumers are expected to increase their holiday spending by 29% from last year, resulting in a whopping average predicted cost of $1420 per person (“2021 Canadian Holiday Outlook”, n.d.).

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