I made it myself
Let’s cast aside the debate about whether it’s cheaper to make gifts and focus on other reasons why creating handmade cards, toys and culinary treats might appeal. Part of it might be the IKEA effect, explained by behavioural economist Dan Ariely as the tendency to value things more if we make them ourselves. As our four more tips for the festive season says, this could give an extra boost at Christmas for the giver – and perhaps the recipient of the creations as well.
But a word of caution, a 2011 study co-authored by Ariely When Labor Leads to Love finds that completing the task successfully is an important part of the picture. When people built and then destroyed their creations, or failed to complete them, “the IKEA effect dissipated”. A warning against being too ambitious in festive season projects – or encouragement to do a test run.
What would you rather be doing?
For those less inclined to make their own, the economics idea of “opportunity cost” may be a factor. The time cost of arts and crafts can be high. After all, it might mean sacrificing time that could otherwise be spent doing activities that are more highly valued, such as spending time with friends and family.