2021-12-20 17:55:36 来源:参考消息网 责任编辑:黄晋一

参考消息网12月20日报道

Is Holiday Gift-Giving Really Worth It?

过节送礼物,到底值不值?

Jessica Grose 杰茜卡·格罗斯

I grew up in a household that had no particular attachment to gift-giving rituals. As soon as I was old enough, around 12 as I recall, my parents just started giving me cash instead of gifts for both my birthday and the holidays. But I married into a family that both celebrates Christmas and finds gift-giving meaningful,so I wanted to learn how to give and get gifts gracefully.

When I recently tweeted about my hatred of both giving and receiving gifts,I found many kindred spirits.

Joel Waldfogel, a professor and an associate dean at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management and the author of “Scroogenomics:Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays,” has found that putting sentimental value aside, goods are worth 20 percent less per item when they're gifts. So if your boyfriend spends $100 on a robotic panda for you (you know, hypothetically), on average you'll get only $80 worth of utility out of it.

Not all economists agree. Benjamin Ho,an associate professor of economics at Vassar College, who has studied the role of gifts for building trust, told me that“gifts have a lot of value in society” and that the reason gift-giving and receiving is so challenging is part of the point. “If it was easy to get a gift for people, anyone could do it,” he said. Giving a good gift shows that you know someone well, and it builds trust over time.

Though I appreciated the cold, hard, economic analysis, I felt most moved by the description of gift-giving I heard from Mark Osteen, a professor of English at Loyola University Maryland and the editor of “The Question of the Gift:Essays Across Disciplines.” First, he said that many people dislike Christmas gift-giving because the commercial process removes any sacredness around the exchange.

Osteen also said that “a gift is a story, because you're telling a story about the person you give it to, and a story of how we know each other.” I identified with that, because my husband's bad gift-giving and my ungracious reaction has become part of our narrative as a couple, and part of our lore as we created a family.

We of course got to know each other better over the years, including through our failures and successes at buying each other presents. My husband learned that he can buy me wearables only if his choices get sign-off from his very fashionable sister, who has excellent taste and has always done right by me. I learned that the gifts he enjoys most are experiences, not things, so for his recent birthday I arranged for my parents to watch our daughters and booked us a trip upstate for the weekend. And we decided together that we're not getting each other anything this year.

我成长在一个对送礼习俗没有特别感情的家庭里。等我一长到足够大的年纪,我记得是12岁左右,父母就开始送给我现金而不是礼物,过生日和过节都是如此。但我后来嫁到了一个既过圣诞节、也认为送礼物意义重大的家庭里,因此我想要学会如何得体地送礼物和收礼物。

参考消息网12月20日报道

Is Holiday Gift-Giving Really Worth It?

过节送礼物,到底值不值?

Jessica Grose 杰茜卡·格罗斯

I grew up in a household that had no particular attachment to gift-giving rituals. As soon as I was old enough, around 12 as I recall, my parents just started giving me cash instead of gifts for both my birthday and the holidays. But I married into a family that both celebrates Christmas and finds gift-giving meaningful,so I wanted to learn how to give and get gifts gracefully.

When I recently tweeted about my hatred of both giving and receiving gifts,I found many kindred spirits.

Joel Waldfogel, a professor and an associate dean at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management and the author of “Scroogenomics:Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays,” has found that putting sentimental value aside, goods are worth 20 percent less per item when they're gifts. So if your boyfriend spends $100 on a robotic panda for you (you know, hypothetically), on average you'll get only $80 worth of utility out of it.

Not all economists agree. Benjamin Ho,an associate professor of economics at Vassar College, who has studied the role of gifts for building trust, told me that“gifts have a lot of value in society” and that the reason gift-giving and receiving is so challenging is part of the point. “If it was easy to get a gift for people, anyone could do it,” he said. Giving a good gift shows that you know someone well, and it builds trust over time.

Though I appreciated the cold, hard, economic analysis, I felt most moved by the description of gift-giving I heard from Mark Osteen, a professor of English at Loyola University Maryland and the editor of “The Question of the Gift:Essays Across Disciplines.” First, he said that many people dislike Christmas gift-giving because the commercial process removes any sacredness around the exchange.

Osteen also said that “a gift is a story, because you're telling a story about the person you give it to, and a story of how we know each other.” I identified with that, because my husband's bad gift-giving and my ungracious reaction has become part of our narrative as a couple, and part of our lore as we created a family.

We of course got to know each other better over the years, including through our failures and successes at buying each other presents. My husband learned that he can buy me wearables only if his choices get sign-off from his very fashionable sister, who has excellent taste and has always done right by me. I learned that the gifts he enjoys most are experiences, not things, so for his recent birthday I arranged for my parents to watch our daughters and booked us a trip upstate for the weekend. And we decided together that we're not getting each other anything this year.

我成长在一个对送礼习俗没有特别感情的家庭里。等我一长到足够大的年纪,我记得是12岁左右,父母就开始送给我现金而不是礼物,过生日和过节都是如此。但我后来嫁到了一个既过圣诞节、也认为送礼物意义重大的家庭里,因此我想要学会如何得体地送礼物和收礼物。

我最近在推特网站上讲述了自己对送礼物和收礼物的厌恶,引起了许多人的共鸣。

明尼苏达大学卡尔森管理学院教授、副院长乔尔·瓦尔德福格尔是《吝啬鬼经济学:为什么不该为节日买礼物》一书的作者。他曾提出,抛开情感价值不谈,每件商品在变成礼物后,价值会折损20%。所以说,如果男朋友花100美元为你买一个机器熊猫(要知道,这只是假设),那么平均而言,它对你的用处将只值80美元。

并非所有经济学家都赞同这个观点。瓦萨尔学院副教授本杰明·何(音)曾对礼物发挥的建立信任作用进行过一番研究。他对我说,“礼物在社会中具有巨大的价值”,送礼物和收礼物具有很大挑战性的原因本身就是部分价值所在。他说:“如果为别人挑选礼物很容易,那任何人都能做这件事了。”送上一份好礼说明你很了解对方,而这会渐渐培养信任。

虽然我很欣赏这番冷静、确凿、实用的分析,但最让我受触动的还是我从马克·奥斯廷那里听到的送礼论述。奥斯廷是马里兰洛约拉大学的英语教授,也是《礼物研究:跨学科散文集》一书的编者。他首先说,许多人不喜欢在圣诞节送礼物是因为商业过程使礼物交换失去神圣感。

奥斯廷还说:“一件礼物就是一个故事,因为你在讲述关于对方的故事,关于我们如何相识相知的故事。”我深有同感,因为丈夫送礼物不合我意以及我不够客气的反应已经变成我们婚后生活的一部分,也成了我们生养下一代过程中的一部分。

这么多年来,我们当然加深了对彼此的了解,包括通过我们在为彼此买礼物这件事上的成败经历。丈夫明白了只有在一种情况下可以给我买衣服,那就是他的选择得到时髦妹妹的认可——他的妹妹有着绝佳的品味,而且总是能看准什么衣着适合我。我也明白了我丈夫最喜欢的礼物是体验而不是物品,因此他最近一次过生日时,我安排父母照看我们的女儿,为我们俩预订了前往州北部度周末。此外,我们约定,今年彼此都不送对方任何礼物。(冯雪译自12月1日美国《纽约时报》网站)

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