Thursday, November 13, 2008

Economics vs. Christmas

Here's a post I did for the Shotgun Blog the other day. I've been posting over there most frequently, if you've been wondering where I've gone, but I'll try to cross-post more often.
If you're like me, you can really only enjoy Christmas in the time immediately surrounding the holiday. I'm filled with a sense of dull rage through most of the fall and early winter starting when I see that people have Christmas lights up and on while their Jack o' Lantern still sits at the road. I would rather chew glass than listen to Christmas music for two months starting November 1st, but that's the day it starts.

Yep, for people like me, this time of year can be stressful.

Well, there's a solution. Take some cold, hard logic and suck all of the early joy and magic out of the ever-expanding season with economics! Undercover Economist Tim Hartford wrote a few years ago on the deadweight loss of Christmas.

Here's an exerpt:
But giving isn’t the only example of seasonal waste. While some Christmas cards are sent out of genuine goodwill, many Christmas card exchanges are sub-optimal equilibria. In other words, both parties are only sending cards to reciprocate last year’s card. Both would happily agree to stop, but it is embarrassing to be the first after so many years of mechanical exchange.
Economics: 1, Christmas: 0

Enjoy, and bah, humbug.

h/t, Libby

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