Today's discussion:

Christmas gifts: Worthwhile tradition or inefficient waste of time and money?

Thirty years ago a controversial economics paper was released that challenged one of the core traditions of the Christmas season: the giving of gifts. Is it a purely a utilitarian exercise that can be weighed up in economic terms to determine if presents are actually worth the money, time, and effort? Or is there more to the practice beyond the material?

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The Hub Staff

Geoff Russ writes about different perspectives on the nature of giving gifts to others during the holiday season. What did you think about the varied argumentation for the economics of gift giving and the human aspect of gift giving?

22nd December 2023 at 7:32 am
Alice Barr

You can call me grinch if you want, but a couple of years ago, I convinced my family to stop giving gifts. We don’t have any kids in our family. We already set a limit (about $50 per person), so there isn’t too much I can buy at that price that will be meaningful to my family. To exchange cash or gift cards is a waste of effort. Just keep your own cash – you end up at the same point you started at anyway. And the last thing I want is another shirt that doesn’t fit, or another knickknack to dust. My feeling is that the joy of Christmas is just being together (and eating too much).

My friends and I have never exchanged gifts. Again, the gift of time is much more valued. Lets go for lunch or something and have an unrushed, relaxed visit. Impossible to do during the Christmas season, but so much more enjoyable.

And the concept of gift giving is out of control! Why are people being pressured to give a gift to every person in their circle? Ie teachers, postal carriers, newspaper deliveries? Its too much.

And without gift giving, there is no hectic shopping, filling up landfills with gift wrap and empty boxes and bows and ribbons. No wasting gas sitting in line trying to get into the mall or driving around looking for parking spots. So much better for the environment!

22nd December 2023 at 9:16 am
Peter Byrne

Well, yes and no:
Obviously for kids, Santa and Christmas presents are sacrosanct. That to me is the real magic of Christmas (and yes, not negating the miracle of the birth of Jesus Christ, don’t-hate-me). Christmas Gifts bring Joy to the little ones. Children, like others without income, are dependent on charity for their possessions.
Adults, especially affluent adults, are likely to buy whatever they need/want whenever they need/want it and so gift giving becomes less meaningful.
However – after 43 years of marriage I have learned that the right gift tells a spouse that they are important, and that their happiness and joy is your happiness and joy.
Note: Jewellery is always welcome in my experience. It’s always the right size.
Note: As an experiment, don’t buy your wife a Christmas gift this year, as a test of this economic model and theory.

22nd December 2023 at 12:21 pm
Kim Morton

I have several problems with the commercialized Christmas. 1, I am not a Christian. So it is not really my holiday to start with. We do celebrate the solstice though. 2, being raised in a logging camp and being a logger or construction worker all my life, money is usually tight this time of year. Going on a spending spree with credit cards is not my idea of smart fiscal management. 3, with so many people doing major spending in a short timeframe, it puts an unnecessary load on stores and the supply chain. 4, this whole shop til you drop thing is completely contrary to the whole spirit of Christmas.

22nd December 2023 at 8:47 am

Cash is cold. Gifts are warm and meaningful. Cash means you are too lazy to find an appropriate gift.

22nd December 2023 at 10:30 am

In regards to your closing statement: if history is any indicator (and it usually is), that government will likely be a conservative one. With the exception of the austerity measures of the Martin-led government, the cyclical trend has been for Liberals to spend like sailors until the voters get ticked off, then Tories come in to fix it all, thereby p*****g voters off even more until they vote Liberals back in. And round & round we go

31st December 2023 at 11:25 am

I have been listening to your podcasts for months and enjoy most of them. Quite a while ago I listened to Sean Speer in conversation with David Frum and did not enjoy it. Today, 25 December, I thought I would give it another chance and found the only thing that David Frum said that made any sense to me at all was the last few minutes that he spoke. He comes across as someone with TDS, a RHINO and a warmonger. The US needs to stay out of foreign wars, not foment them and not fight them by proxy. I am not a US citizen and probably should not worry about what it does but I try to keep informed and I do worry.

26th December 2023 at 12:10 am

The UN-IPCC et al Climate Change platform is an all powerful world socialist government
Hence any supposed Conservative entity whether it be movement, political party ,government, UCP or CPC that has a positive Climate change policy is a fraud
It cannot possibly be consistent with Free Enterprise and essential freedom

24th December 2023 at 1:19 pm
Richard Courtemanche

Why should our joyful traditions continue to fade away and die!

23rd December 2023 at 1:00 pm
Lynne Tuff

I feel buying gifts that none in our family need or want is a waste of time and gift wrap.I find giving money is a far better idea.Postage is outrageous and the gift wrap puts more waste in the landfill. Christmas is family. friends and Turkey at our house.

22nd December 2023 at 11:15 am