the deadweight loss of Christmas

[kottke] An explanation of the deadweight loss of Christmas; where the giver spends more on the gift than the recipient would have spent – "An economist might suggest that the solution is to abandon the pretense and simply start exchanging small piles of money. The boom in gift cards is a kind of socially tolerable version of this: the cards are somehow more personal than cash, and they're also not going to be wasted on an unwanted gift."

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