Farewell, with some thoughts on gift giving

January has arrived and so my time as a guest blogger has come to an end.  Thanks so much to Solangel and the other folks here at Concurring Opinions for giving me the opportunity to blog this month.

As I reflect back on December, I am reminded again of “The Deadweight Loss of Christmas” and a recent article from the NY Times describing how people make systematically different decisions when they choose what they would like to receive vs. what they would like to give. They want to receive gift cards but want to give imaginative and unique items. This is within a larger constellation of research on asymmetries between how we make decisions for ourselves and how we make decisions for others. (See here and Chapter 13 of this Handbook for brief summaries). Rather than enter debates about the intangible value of gift giving or gift selection, which each create value even if gifts miss their mark, I just wanted to invite readers to write in about either 1) gifts that missed their mark by an especially wide margin this season or 2) gifts that created much more joy than one could have possibly predicted.

I will leave it to readers’ imaginations to decide which categories these gifts fell into…




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