In the weeks leading up to Christmas, sales increase dramatically in almost all areas of retail. Shops introduce hundreds of new products as people buy more and more gifts, decorations and supplies to take them through the Christmas period.
The ‘dead weight’ of bad gifts
However, despite all this mass buying of things, the huge surge in sales at Christmas time actually leads to what economists call a ‘deadweight loss’. What this means is that the overall difference between what present givers spent on Christmas gifts, and what the gift receivers would have paid for the same things, is a negative number (economists calculate that in 2001 Christmas resulted in a $4 billion deadweight loss in the U.S. alone). To put it more simply, most Christmas gifts are not as welcome as they should be!
Clutter & mess
Along with the fact that a person might not really want the carefully chosen Christmas promotional gift being given to them, there tends to be a cost for upkeep and storage of the item – and its contribution to clutter around the household ends up being a further nuisance to the receiver.
If presents end up in the dustbin then this contributes to damage to the environment. Due to the sheer scale of gift-giving at Christmas, the environmental impact is significant. Bad Christmas gifts are a burden to society.
The art of gift-giving
But it doesn’t have to be this way! While none of us needs more bland cellophaned baskets of synthetic bath bombs and bodywashes, bags of tat destined for the landfill, there really is an art to gift-giving.
It is possible to give presents which will truly be valued by your loved ones. Once you have the knack of giving the right Christmas gifts to your friends and family, you can start making a positive contribution to the spirit of giving at Christmas!
Take your time
A mad rush around the shops on December 24 may suit your hectic lifestyle, but the likelihood of finding truly ideal Christmas gifts that way is slim. Instead, in the months leading up to Christmas, take a note of the interests and hobbies your friends and family are indulging in, and consider activities they might enjoy but which they haven’t yet discovered for themselves.
What gifts would help them achieve their goals, appreciate their hobbies or simply enhance their lives from day to day? Perhaps there is a Christmas gift which would benefit them, but which is too expensive for you to pay for. Could you join up with other members of their family or friends and pay for the item together?
If you are absolutely certain that giving the same present to a particular loved one every year will make them happy, go ahead. But most people like to be surprised once in a while! If you can find an original Christmas gift that suits a person’s character in some way then it will be a more exciting present to receive.