Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays by Joel Waldfogel

Book 1 of 100 for the 100+ Reading Challenge
Book 1 of 50 for the New Author Challenge
Book 1 of 50 for the RYOB Challenge
Book 20 of 55 for the Countdown Challenge (2009)

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

My husband picked this one up for me. He knows that I enjoy books in the "popular economics" genre. But, I couldn't bring myself to read it until after Christmas in case I might feel guilty. Surprisingly, it didn't make me feel guilty at all. Most of the book was common sense to me and can be condensed into a few main points.

This book includes data about the huge amount of wasteful spending that happens during Christmastime.  It is staggering (think billions and billions) and it could be avoided. How? Well, try and get gifts for people that they would get for themselves. If they place the same value on the gift that you spent on it, then that means that you did a good job and there is no waste. You probably wouldn't buy a golf ball tie for yourself, so don't buy one for your Uncle Fred.

Waldfogel also argues that cash is the best gift of all. Unfortunately, it is socially unacceptable to give it in a lot of circumstances. He also likes gift cards, but even they contribute to the waste. People lose gift cards or forget they have money on them. The author also likes it when people give money to charities in someone's name. I don't necessarily love all these ideas, but I understand the point he's trying to make.

The better you know someone, the less likely that a gift you give them will be wasteful. So I'm probably going to do a pretty good job when it comes to my sisters, parents, husband, and kids. Beyond that, I will definitely keep this book in mind to try and minimize the waste with thoughtful giving.

Source: Gift


bermudaonion said...

That sounds like common sense. As I've gotten older, I've cut out a lot of that wasteful gift giving.

Mrs. B. said...

My in-laws are the kings/queens of wasteful gift giving. I doubt they'd agree w/ me, but they can give some stinker, dollar store "treasures" all in the name of giving a gift.
As for your Anne Rivers Siddons aspirations: let me suggest Colony. It is by far my favorite book and I almost envy you the chance to read it for the first time. :) So so good.

Catpad said...

that's so good!!