Ever buy someone a present you’re sure they’ll love, only to have them open it and say the classically fake, “Oh, I loveeeee it”? Buying gifts—well, gifts people actually like—is really freaking hard.

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Thankfully, science has a foolproof way—or at least a few handy suggestions—to buy presents people will enjoy and use. Science of Usgathered a bunch of psychological and consumer research studies that looked at gift giving. They found that as long as you follow these four tips, you’ll be known as one of the best gift givers around:

  1. Think beyond the moment they unwrap it.
    Sure, going for that initial “OMG” moment is great, but make sure to ask yourself: Can you seriously picture your friend or loved one using this in their day-to-day life?
  2. OK, just give them what they ask for.
    It sounds boring, but people ask for sh*t for a reason. Chances are, if they asked for it, they’ll actually like it. Plus, studies confirm that people see these gifts as more thoughtful than the ones that are a complete surprise.
  3. Don’t pair a big present with a small one.
    There’s no need to add a trinket to the gift you splurged on. Research shows big-deal stuff looks like more of a big deal when it’s standing alone.
  4. Or honestly, just give them $$$.
    You may think giving cash sounds lame, but researchers found that people want cash more than they let on, and they often appreciate it more than a physical gift.

For more information on the studies behind these tips, and more ways to give Santa a run for his money, check out the full story on Science of Us.