If you’ve ever received a useless gadget, a horrendous tie or some kind of bowl, you’ll know that when people buy Christmas presents, they can blunder badly. Chances are pretty good that whatever you end up getting people this year, and however hard you try, some of your friends and family members aren’t going to think that the gift is worth what you paid for it.
University of Minnesota economist Joel Waldfogel, author of “Scroogenomics,” finds that Americans spend about $65 billion on winter holiday presents every year -- and that many of those billions are simply wasted, because a lot of people don’t much like what they get. Typically the value of a gift, to the recipient, is about 20 percent lower than its cost. He describes the holiday season as “an orgy of value destruction.”
Mis-giving is a big problem for givers as well as recipients. In a large survey, the average respondent was found to give 23 presents every holiday season. Gift-giving can also take an economic toll. Personal debts tend to jump after December. That isn’t ideal, especially in hard economic times and if recipients aren’t thrilled with what they get.
Here are some tips for gift-givers, building on six behavioral findings that bear directly on holiday-season mis- giving. They might help you get through December a little better.
Check the rest of Cass Sunstein's article here: ChristmasShoppingTips