This article originally appeared in Psychology Today.
Let's be honest. Christmas gift exchanges can quickly turn into moments of disappointment and envy. Whether it is an exchange among friends or a Christmas morning frenzy among children, people can't help but look over at another person's present and make comparisons. Did that other present cost more? Is that other present nicer? More personal?
Here are some tips for avoiding envy.
If it is "the thought that matters"—what does the giver think of me?
First, remember that it isn't about you. Yes, the gift is meant for you, but just as you are probably swamped around the holidays, so is everyone else. We tend to think that everyone else acts intentionally and explain their behaviors as being purposeful and under their control. This is called the "fundamental attribution error." We are able to see how external forces (e.g., traffic, delays in orders, lack of the right sizes) influence our own behavior, but we fail to do the same when considering why others act as they do.