Are Christmas Gifts A Total Waste Of Money?

Just before Christmas scores of people feel compelled to write lengthy articles, present lectures, compile videos for YouTube and in general create hot air about the topic of excessive Christmas gift buying.

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Some pontificate about this subject throwing clever economic theories about and others tug at emotional strings while further proponents try to reason that Christmas gifts are a waste of money because most people hate the ones they get.

They certainly have a point. The shopping malls hum at their busiest just after Christmas when people come in to exchange their unwanted gifts.

So why do it?

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Easy answer really. It’s all about guilt. Parents showering their children with gifts do this because they feel guilty that they don’t show their love and caring enough. Adult children give gifts to parents because they feel guilty that they don’t show their love and caring enough. Husbands give their wives gifts because… You get the drift of the argument here.

If this is the reason for the excessive gift season, how did it get so out of hand? Enter the advertising industry whose reason for existence is to ensure their clients sell more and more products.

Holidays based on emotional reasons such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Father and Mother’s Day, Teacher’s Day and most other man made public holidays are an advertising executive’s wet dream.
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Emotions and message. They work so well together. If you love your kids, parents, friends, auntie and any other folk you can think of then you have to buy that latest game, just launched designer label perfume, bit of jewelery or that cute little Ferrari.

The bigger the purchase the more perfect is your love. Not always of course. Sometimes   it’s the latest toy that causes the most obsessive gift purchasing quest. Many parents have felt compelled to shred their nerves chasing around the shopping malls to find that last Nintendo game, most recent Bratz doll or zebra striped iPod.

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For many businesses this period of gift feeding frenzy is the main income generating quarter. This is what keeps them going. Sure there are other times during the 12 month trading period where the flat-lining turnover figures show a blip of life, but it’s the Christmas trading period that provides the bulk of their trade.

Florists have a similar love relationship with Valentine’s Day. And chocolate manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon of Easter for their rush of income. So why should shopping malls not similarly pursue the Xmas dollar.

That’s exactly what shopping malls are doing with great gusto. How else would it be possible for you to find the biggest decorated Christmas tree in an Arab country? And have you noticed how early in the year those Christmas decorations are put up and the cheesy jingles are played? October already.christmasshop-main_Full

In the end it’s truly a win-win situation. Business makes its money. Human beings get to calm their guilt feelings about how the stress and busyness of their lives forces them to neglect their friends and family during the year.  It’s a season of goodwill to all folk all round.

What is your take on this seasonal topic?

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20 Responses

  1. A. Zuck says:

    It’s got me think a bit of scroogenomics! You do make a lot of exceptional points.
    .-= A. Zuck´s last blog ..JZSOTD Belated One Year Anniversary, Art School Graduation Retrospective, and Giveaway =-.

  2. noahsachs says:

    Yup, guilt and also there are really lots of cool things to buy.

  3. Lester says:

    How about instead of buying things, we spend a bit more time together at Christmas? Instead of one day, we should spend a week with family and friends.

    What kind of developed country can’t let everyone spend a week with family? Dosn’t sound very developed to me. Sounds like a bunch of slaves.

  4. Sergio says:

    Yup, guilt and also there are really lots of cool things to buy…

  5. Robin, I actually read an article a while back saying that we get 20% less satisfactions from gifts we receive from others than those we make to ourselves. That is why impersonal gifts are so sought after, they can be regifted :)

    I for one don’t want to give up getting Christmas gifts for others. But wishlists would certainly help :)
    .-= Alina Popescu´s last blog ..Guest post on Word Sell, Inc: How to Sell Social Media to B2B Companies =-.

  6. SkorcherX says:

    Maybe guilt for some, but not for all. You give because its fun. There comes a time in most peoples lives where giving is greater than receiving. I wouldn’t call it guilt, I would call it appreciation. When you can give a gift to a loved one that brings them to tears… thats a true xmas gift, and these gifts don’t even have to be expensive. I’m not religious, but the holiday season is a great time of year.

  7. Steph says:

    Well written and so true. What’s even more insidious is that the fact that realization of the problem of excessive gift-giving doesn’t change a thing unless you get similar realization from the rest of the family…
    Said another way, even though I know about this and hate it, I can’t do anything about it.
    .-= Steph´s last blog ..Cabbage Soup Diet – 1 =-.

  8. custom wine cellar says:

    I usually dont

  9. Christmas gift buying CAN be a win-win, but I don’t believe it is in most case. The reason is that most people (at least the ones I know) stress about buying the rights gifts and spending enough money to “show their love”. This mentality leads to stress and overspending, so only the stores win.
    .-= Darvin @ Inexpensive gifts for men´s last blog ..Romantic Christmas Gifts for Men =-.

  10. Anjalankoski Anna Anna-Liisa says:

    Substantially, the post is really the sweetest on this notable topic. I agree with your conclusions and will thirstily look forward to your incoming updates. Saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the exceptional lucidity in your writing. I will immediately grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. Solid work and much success in your business endeavors!Yes, Christmas is coming, probably faster than we want to think about,are you ready for it? Did you make some unique christmas crafts?Making christmas crafts is the most beautifull moment for waiting the christmas to come.

  11. Franc says:

    I like giving Christmas gifts. It’s fun to pick out things for those you enjoy being with. If I could afford it, I’d get my sisters some Steve Madden boots. Apparently you can get an extra 30% off, but I’m kinda running low on extra cash this year. I’m glad I’ll be able to go home for Christmas though!

  12. Christmas is a time for sharing and giving gifts and presents to your family, friends and enemies. It’s a time to show love and appreciation.

    I personally, isn’t of the view that Christmas gifts are total waste of money. I think it’s a great piece of investments. Great post BTW.
    .-= faithwisdomlove@artificial Christmas tree´s last blog ..Christmas Wreath =-.

  13. roberto cavalli says:

    Hi, I applaud your blog for informing people, very interesting article, keep up it coming :)

  14. Bob L%9 says:

    Great insight. I am loving it!! Will come back again – taking you feeds also, Thanks.

  15. wireless says:

    Thanks so much for the great post, this was just the thing I needed to see

  16. Toys NZ says:

    Thank you for an enjoyable read. I was searching for some toys for Christmas on Yahoo and your website came up on search results. I’ve bookmarked your site so that I can come back and read more when I have time. Thanks very much.

  1. December 15, 2009

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  3. December 15, 2009

    […] Just before Christmas scores of people feel compelled to write lengthy articles, present lectures, compile videos for YouTube and in general create hot air about the topic of excessive Christmas gift buying. The shopping malls hum at their busiest just after Christmas when people come in to exchange their unwanted gifts. Original Story Link […]

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