The idea for this post came courtesy of, like many of my blog posts, letters written to Dan Ariely, and his response to those letters.
Here is an email Dan answered in today’s Wall Street Journal:
I spent half a day wrapping Christmas gifts for my family this year. Is it really worth my time? —Jessica
And here was Dan’s response:
Even though it’s time-consuming, wrapping gifts is worthwhile since it makes the recipients enjoy them more, according to a 1992 study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. The effect holds even when the wrap is transparent and the recipient can see what’s inside. That’s because wrapping slows down the process of opening the gift, which helps us pay closer attention to the experience. Unwrapping gifts is like the ritual of drinking wine: Swirling it in the glass, looking at it and smelling it all slow things down so that we can focus on the pleasure ahead.
So hopefully the research applies to my post.
By making you click on the present, I was able to slow down by a microsecond the time it took you to begin reading the post, making you pay closer attention to the experience. And even though you knew what was going to be inside the present (complete nonsense, as always), I’m hoping that by wrapping it all up in shiny paper with a bow and candy canes you enjoy it more than my usual posts.
If not, blame it on Dan Ariely.