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December 16, 2009


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Much better gift ideas. People usually wast money on a bunch of junk during the holidays. $20 budget for this person...let's get them something they don't need and would never want. There are better uses of cash. At least with a gift card you get more utility than a gift you don't want and can't return.

The best gifts come with some thought and are normally not all that expensive. What did you always want as a child? As you friends and you might be surprised.

Agree the best gifts can often be inexpensive provided there is a lot of thought involved.

The concept of deadweight loss fascinates me. I wonder what the deadweight loss is in charatible giving, especially giving to organized charities. I'm sure it's well north of 20%.


A magazine subscription is not a bad idea but you really need to know whether the person already gets it, and if they don't already get it that they would enjoy receiving it.

My wife and I find these days that with our immediate family we seem to be exchanging gift cards.
I know, we always appreciate getting a gift card for a particular seafood restaurant that we like, or I am always pleased to get one for Home Depot or another excellent hardware store that we have in the Bay Area called Orchard Supply Hardware or OSH(now owned by Sears).

What I don't appreciate is clothing - I like to choose my own. Likewise I wouldn't dream of ever buying my wife an item of clothing because I know how particular she is and returning gifts ia a pain.

Have you heard the story that once when John D. Rockefeller was asked what he would like for a birthday present, he replied "Money".

Something my family started doing as a Christmas tradition two years ago is we implement a "books only" rule for gift exchanges, in addition to Secret Santa. That way, our large 5 person family only needs to spend max $20 during the holidays for each other. Talk about it being a best Christmas since we don't have to worry about post-holiday bills.

I always cringe when Christmas rolls around, specifically because of the "dead weight" gifts...or as I like to call them, "[email protected] gifts". These are the gifts I have to pretend I like, all the while knowing that the only person who got what they wanted from this exchange was the giver. Well, maybe the Chinese laborer who made the piece of junk.

Give me my favorite gift - CASH!

For our children, we just ask them to make a list of gifts that they would like, and refer to this list when Christmas-shopping (withing the allocated budget, of course)... Everybody's happy!

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