Reduce the stress of picking presents

publication date: Dec 4, 2009
author/source: Judi James
Christmas presents
A group of senior citizens recently started a compaign No Socks – to get presents they'd really appreciate at Christmas. Juding by the amount of people who return gifts to shops after Christmas a lot of us are making the wrong choice. So Judi James has come up with some top tips to check out if what you are thinking of giving would be well received!

  • Good facial expression: Intense face-gazing, like a dog that has seen a dog biscuit attached to its owner’s nose. They’ll continue to scan long after the gift has been mentioned, watching to see you got the hint (ie hoping that expression of dumb blankness will be replaced by something more knowing) and hoping you’ll ask for more details.       
  • Bad facial expression: You mention the gift idea and they perform a horizontal right-left eye dart suggesting a desire for escape, plus a thin, mouth-stretch smile suggesting fear rather than pleasure.
  • Good vocal tone: A man’s tone will dip lower with pleasure, a woman’s will raise very slightly and become rather breathless. Both mimic sexual arousal!
  • Bad vocal tone: A man’s voice rises in tone (attempt to be polite and avoid being pulped if the gift is already purchased or the same has been bought in previous years) but then performs the ‘Dying fall’, dipping from high to low in one phrase. This tends to be followed by a glassy-eyed stare out of the window/at the TV or PC screen.      
  • Good gesticulation: The hands will tend to rise up to chest area in a pseudo-celebratory gesture which in women will often be a hand-clasp. The hands are pulled in towards the chest as though miming receipt and instant ownership of the gift. This also mimics an animal getting and then protecting food.
  • Bad gesticulation: Incongruent gestures, ie sending mixed messages. This would involve a head-nod to agree with the gift suggested combined with folded arms to suggest a lack of desire or acceptance.
  • Good wording: Specific and detailed, as in ‘I’d love a LV monogrammed double suit carrier with external pockets and tie rack’.
  • Bad wording: The long pause followed by over-congruent wording plus a plea aimed at your benefit rather than theirs, as in: ‘A soup-blender?… Yes that would be absolutely fantastic of course, brilliant, unbelievable….but are you sure you want to spend that much? I know you’re not that keen on soup.’
The Body Language Bible  by Judi James is available from Amazon. To order a copy click the link below:
 The Body Language Bible: The Hidden Meaning Behind People's Gestures and Expressions