Guide to Gift Giving: What Should I Give? How Much Should I Spend?
Grandma straightened up her shoulders and said this very clearly to the kids, “No one wants junk. It’s better to give nothing than to give people gifts they do not want and which will clutter up their homes.” The travellers were nodding, Teyus remembered all the presents he received which were not interesting but still sat in his room collecting dust. Mira then mentioned she had received 3 frilly dresses that she will never wear, but they are in still in her closet.
“That’s called deadweight loss” informed Grandma. “It’s basically when the amount you have spent for a gift exceeds the value of it to the person who is receiving it.”
She continued, “So when your uncle spends $30 to buy you that new toy, it was a deadweight loss because the value to you of that toy was close to zero. Or Mira, when your friend spent $40 buying you that very frilly dress, it also created a deadweight loss because you don’t value it.”
“What should we give then?” asked Mira, looking a bit confused now. She knew that some presents she had given to her friends in the past were deadweight losses, but some of her friends already had everything!
Grandma took a deep breath, “Give something that means something to both of you! You can give a picture you painted, a cake or cookies you baked, a story about the two of you, or even a potted plant. The best gifts share a mutual experience in which both of you can remember and cherish. For some examples, a movie night at home or an afternoon filled playing board games and drinking tea! The options are endless when you get creative about it. Just remember, you should get as much joy from giving it as the person gets from receiving it. It’s not about how much something costs, it’s about how happy it makes people”
“As for how much to spend, if you don’t have a lot of money then don’t spend it. Come up with another way to make a gift special. There is never any sense in spending money you don’t really have to buy a present for someone who doesn’t want it.”