A team of scientists have figured out the secret to giving the perfect Christmas present - and fortunately, it isn't about spending as much as possible.

In a study recently published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, researchers found that those receiving gifts generally like the presents that reflect the personality of the giver the best.

Trying to second-guess or assume what the receiver wants isn’t the way to go, the study suggested, as it often causes us to lose an understanding of what they really want and value.

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This conclusion was reached during an experiment in which 122 participants bought songs from iTunes as gifts from their friends - when researchers surveyed these friends afterwards, they found they generally liked their gifts more when told they reflected the givers’ personal tastes in music.

In more good news for those who have left their Christmas shopping to the last minute, the researchers also identified a few no-nos that people should bear in mind when buying gifts.

When receivers were given a bundle of presents comprised of one higher-value gift and a smaller, less expensive one, it was found that they attempted to estimate the value of the set of presents - and when they did that, the cheaper gift tended to lessen the perceived value of the main present in their minds.

As the Daily Mail reported, there were also some tips for couples, especially those spending their first Christmas present together - as researchers noted, giving expensive presents early in the relationship can be problematic because it raises the receiver’s expectations. As the relationship continues and other, cheaper gifts are given, it can be perceived as a slight by the receiver.

Giving fancy presents in the beginnings of a relationship can also be a problem as some women tend to see them as bribes, and not genuine, thoughtful gifts.

Psychology Professor Adrian Furnham from University College London concluded the study that by saying the better people know each other, the more subtle they can be with their gifts, rather than trying to wow the receiver with a flashy present - but, he adds, “a gift still must be carefully and thoughtfully chosen.”

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