SEATTLE -- Many subscription box services are based on self-gifting. What's driving it?

"There are so many options of things to buy, so now one of the things we can buy is someone who can make the decision for us," said Sarah Quinn, University of Washingtonsociology professor.

The average consumer is overwhelmed with choices. Quinn says, in some cases, the subscription box can be a good thing.

But she points out that self-gifting is a departure from traditional gift giving where you get a present from a friend or loved one. In the case of subscription boxes, Quinn says we are getting the part of the gift that's gratifying and exciting but we are building a relationship with a company instead of another person.

Quinn encourages people to also think outside the box to find surprise and joy that doesn't come from your mailbox.

"You could go take a book out from the library, you could go take a hike, take a walk around the city, you could try to do creative expression," said Quinn.