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Episode Info:

This week’s Oldie-but-Goodie:

The average American spends about $830 on Christmas gifts alone and 30% of us spend over $1,000, yet somehow, we seem to forget every year to plan for this time of year.

For our Christmas episode (yes, we aired this in Christmas!), we explore whether the act of giving gifts is actually worth it, from an economic standpoint and a financial values standpoint.

B/W Chaz Kangas Christmas songs! He has tons of them, they are all hilarious and awesome, and he donates all the sales to RAINN and Wigs for Kids. chazkangas.bandcamp.com

Episode Highlights:

Pam: The average person actually spends $830 on gifts, and 30% of people plan to spend over $1,000 on gifts.

Pam: The average emergency in a household is about $400. So, if someone spends $1,000 on Christmas… Dyalekt: That’s more than a double emergency, y’all. Pam: Christmas is a double emergency, y’all.

Dyalekt: Taxes on things like travel during the holidays are higher, and you’re spending roughly $100 more per plane ticket in the holidays, because of extra fees that they put in there.

Pam: You see something, you buy it, you believe it’s at least worth that much. Now, with gift-giving, especially if you don’t know the person very well and you just have this obligation, you put them on your list that you have to buy something. It’s an aunt of a cousin or some family member or friend that you don’t see very often, then you might spend $20 on them let’s say…and they look at they candle and they’re like “this is not worth anything to me.” So, that $20 that you spent is actually worthless.

Pam: There is this idea that you’re giving something to someone that’s frivolous. Even the concept of gift cards versus giving someone cash is a frivolous thing, right? You’re saying, “No, I want you to spend this money. Don’t save it. Don’t put it away. Even if it’s a Visa giftcard, you have to spend it on something.”

Pam: When you buy something for someone that they don’t actually want, then you’re actually de-valuing the actual thing itself.

Pam: The only real exception to this is giving gifts to little kids. So, think about it. As adults, we have the money to buy what we want. Why do we put ourselves through this illusion of “Oh, let me ask for this for Christmas and maybe I’ll get it.” It’s like, well, do you think some other person has the money to get it? …The thing with little kids though is they like what we give them. They’d actually be devastated if they didn’t get these gifts. ….and the other thing, too, is there is just this excitement that comes with the anticipation of getting a gift, and not knowing what someone got you. It tends to work pretty well because, especially with younger kids, you know their preferences or their preferences are broad enough and wide enough that just the fact that they’re getting something means it’s something new for them to discover.

Pam: Do you value the fact that you have this list of people who you wanna give gifts to or you feel like you need to give gifts to, and it makes you feel good to do it? Or, does it feel like it’s a burden but you do it anyway? …Do you actually enjoy this process or not? What would make you enjoy this process?

Pam: What we tend to forget about is the people who can’t actually afford to do this and still feel the pressure. Dyalekt: Because the people who can’t afford to do this still end up doing this in one form or another.

Pam: The idea of gift giving at this time of year, does that even make sense? Why give yourself that much pressure to spend all of your money at one time?

Pam: If everyone’s spending $1,000 a year on each other, why aren’t we just spending it on ourselves, on the stuff that we actually want?

Pam: $1 billion of giftcards are wasted every year…just not spent.

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