The Psychology of Gift Giving Cookies in a Jar

Cookies in a jar

At Christmas last year, NPR reported on a study that showed people are happier receiving gifts with simpler packaging. Think brown paper packages tied up in string.*

“Not me,” my mom quickly declared when I retold this news piece to my parents while unwrapping gifts on Christmas Eve. There wasn’t a speck of brown paper or a thread of string on any of them. And we all appeared quite happy. My memory isn’t faulty on these points either — there is video proof.

Nothing can be simple in gift giving. Not only do you have the pressure of picking out a good gift…the right gift…the perfect gift that will be cherished both for its actuality and for the memory of the moment it was received, but you also have to worry about how the wrapping will affect the recipients’ impression of receiving the gift.

I suspect the reason that brown paper packaging appeals is because it reminds you of getting letters and packages in the mail. I also suspect that the song is singing about this as well and not about presents. Though according to the end of a news piece from this December, not everyone enjoys trips to the mailbox. Even though mine rarely has anything but ads in it, I do. On my blog my opinion wins so we’ll stick with the theory.

The wrapping paper study didn’t convince me to stock up on unbleached paper, so you don’t have to worry Mom. It did get me thinking about other ways to mess with someones mental state while receiving and giving. Have fun rather than being dismayed by the psychological trap.

A clear glass jar filled with an assortment of cookies seems to be just perfect. You can see all the different kinds of cookies found farther down, but you can’t reach them. Or can you? Will you wait to eat your way through or you will remove and replace to get the one you want? Or, maybe it’s all the same kind of cookie except for the one at the very bottom. So many possibilities for messing with a person’s mind this Christmas.

Not that I did so. All of these cookies were delivered in clear treat bags tied with red foil curled twists. Easy to eat, no analysis required. However, next year, I make no promises.

*By the by, this is not a Christmas song. Please stop.


3 thoughts on “The Psychology of Gift Giving Cookies in a Jar

  1. Just to make things clear… While yes, I love the pretty Christmas wrapping paper and do not go for the brown paper look; it was your father that started the elaborate ribbons and bows. And feeling guilty I couldn’t just stick a self stick bow on his packages.


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