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What makes something the perfect holiday gift?

The average American will receive the perfect gift at least four times in their life.

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family, winter holidays and people concept - happy african american mother, father and little son opening gift box at home on christmas
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The early bird gets the best presents — one-third of Americans start planning their holiday gifts at least two months in advance.

That’s according to a new poll of 2,000 Americans who plan to give gifts this holiday season, balanced by age, gender and region, where the average respondent starts planning their gifts about six weeks before the holiday season starts.

When searching for the perfect gift, the average respondents ask advice from two different people.

This may be because one-third of respondents say they feel more pressure to find the perfect gift for their family than their friends.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Minted, the survey found that the average respondent has received the perfect gift four times in their life and they believe they’ve given someone else the perfect gift five times.

Almost three-quarters (73%) of respondents say they can tell whether or not someone likes their gift as soon as they open it.  

More than half (53%) of respondents have lied to someone about liking the gift they were given — though 50% will ultimately end up keeping it anyway.

Two in five respondents say their mom is the best gift giver in the family.

Almost one-quarter (23%) say their children are the easiest people to shop for on their list, while most respondents (17%) say their partner is the most difficult person to shop for.

When it comes to defining the perfect gift, 35% say it is imaginative and isn’t something they’d buy for themselves.

Another 35% define it as something they specifically asked for, while 30% prefer it to be something practical.

Respondents also outlined other things that make a gift perfect — one respondent wrote, “one that is totally unexpected and makes the recipient happy and full of smiles.”
Another said simply, “anything thoughtful.”

A little more than one-third (36%) of respondents handle getting a less-than-perfect gift by pretending they like it, while 17% are likely to exchange it.

“Gift giving is such a special tradition during the holiday season – it’s a personal and thoughtful way to let someone know you care about them,” said a Minted spokesperson. “Whether it is big or small, it’s ultimately the thought behind the gift that makes it perfect for the recipient.”

This year, nearly two-thirds of respondents (61%)  admit that inflation will impact the types of presents they purchase this year.

Similarly, 61% say inflation will also impact the types of presents they ask for.
Two in five (41%) respondents even admit that there are some gifts they’d feel guilty asking for.

Of those respondents, 73% say they’d feel guilty about asking for something that is expensive, while others are concerned that it would be too difficult to find (25%), or too intimate or personal (20%).

On average, respondents use about 72% of the gifts they are given during the holiday season — particularly highlighting gifts that are useful (48%), surprising (47%) and personalized (37%).

In the end, respondents prefer a gift that is affordable and thoughtful to a gift that is lavish and expensive (67% vs 7%).

“Personalizeable presents, referencing the recipient in some way, are often the most cherished,”said a Minted spokesperson. “Meaningful gifts, no matter the cost, can come in many forms. Whether you’re giving keepsakes, everyday items or even experiences, it’s truly the thought behind it that counts.”  

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 nationally representative Americans who plan to buy gifts this season was commissioned by Minted between November 8 and November 14, 2022. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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