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Dec. 24th, 2004

Well, all my Christmas shopping is done. Time to hold my breath and see how it goes tomorrow.

I've been meaning for some time now to write a non-whiny essay on the difficulties of gift-giving. Dave Barry actually wrote a pretty good column on male ineptness in the area of gifts: http://www.centredaily.com/mld/miamiherald/living/columnists/dave_barry/10337737.htm . But he didn't cover all of the bases. Maybe I'll write the essay after experiencing the joys and sorrows of it all tomorrow.

In the mean time, I'll just point out two related points that are central to the problem of giving gifts. First--and this is quite unintuitive--the typical person is cannot predict with much accuracy what will make him/her happy. See http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/07/magazine/07HAPPINESS.html for the psychological research (you'll need to create a free account at the NYT if you don't have one).

Now, if we are not very good at predicting what would make ourselves happy, how in the world can we know what gift would make another person happy? That point is confirmed by research in economics. http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/12/23/1071941724550.html?from=storyrhs&oneclick=true .

Okay, enough bah-humbugging for now. Gotta clean the house and then work on getting into the Christmas spirit.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 25th, 2004 06:01 am (UTC)
Christmas spirit...
You said, "Okay, enough bah-humbugging for now. Gotta clean the house and then work on getting into the Christmas spirit." Well, I have found that as each year passes, it is more difficult for me to get into the Christmas spirit. I *think* that I have even lost touch with what the, "Christmas spirit" really is. Christmas has meant different things to me at different times during my life. Right now, I guess it is closely related to the quantity and quality of presents that I give my children. You and I have already talked about the gift giving process. I simply don't like it.
I plan to start walking again soon after the new year begins. Maybe that will help me avoid the funk that I usually slide in to around this time of the year.
Dec. 28th, 2004 02:43 am (UTC)
Yeah, "expected" or mutually planned gift giving generally sucks, but since much of my family holds the opinion of "you're going to get a gift whether you like it or not", I sometimes feel .... well, expected to give a gift back. :)

So I opt for the cheap sentimental gifts. This year I gave only framed prints of my photographs for presents. Except for my niece and nephew who got cheap toys. A $12-15 frame plus a $2 5x7 print is an easy gift.

The only hard part is picking a photograph that the receiver will enjoy. But hell, you can give them their choice. :)
Dec. 29th, 2004 02:18 pm (UTC)
I think photographs are always a good gift. Particularly when they are taken by an excellent photographer such as yourself.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )