Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The real COST of Christmas?

Millions of pounds are wasted at Christmas on gifts that people don't need, want or even like. US academic Joel Waldfogel a few years back calculated the 'deadweight loss' of Christmas. He asked people what they would be prepared to pay for the gifts they'd been given. On average it was only about 80% of the true cost to the buyer. The difference in value amounts to millions of wasted dollars.

In his new book Scroogenomics he asks what is the point of gift sets? How many serious golfers would buy themselves those golf-themed knick-knacks, the golf bag wine holder or golfball festooned mug with novelty golf socks? Not many, and I'm sure most dads, uncles and brothers wish they were at least 18-holes away when they open such a gift on Christmas morning.

My own research, carried out recently in association with Ocado, revealed that men are more likely than women to be disappointed with the gifts they get. But women are better at hiding it and try harder to put on a happy face.

I've also analysed the subtle nonverbal signals that leak out when someone opens a naff gift. For more on this check out the info and report on my website.


  1. LOL - my disappointment is rarely subtle and nonverbal and I am utterly rubbish at hiding it - I've just told people to stop wasting their money; better they keep it and buy themselves something nice instead of some guilt-based purchase for me that is almost certainly NOTHING I need, want or like!
    Another great & thought provoking feature!

  2. Clare, great comment, if only more people could be like you! Think of the money and embarrassment that could be saved...


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