Only one Christmas tradition has endured between my brother and I, and that’s watching the Space Ghost Coast to Coast Christmas special every Christmas Eve. It started back in 1995, because Turner made a habit of unscrambling their C-band (never mind) Cartoon Network feed every Christmas Eve until they finally digitized and later moved their feed to KU-band (again, never mind). However, every Christmas Eve Cartoon Network would repeat the Space Ghost Special, and we’d clamour to the television in the basement to watch it. However, since it’s illegal for Canadians to subscribe to Cartoon Network, and I doubt that they air it every Christmas Eve anymore, we pulled our CD-R back-up and watch it.
Fact: The Charlie Brown Christmas special is the more enduring piece of Christmas culture that is uniquely American. Everything else is either on loan from European cultures or has died off over the years. You’re a tenacious one, Charlie Brown.
Economist Joel Waldfogel says giving gifts people don’t want isn’t just bad for the recipients, it’s bad for the economy. According to his research, billions of dollars are wasted each year because of holiday shopping. A professor at Wharton, he has spent years surveying his students about the value of gifts they have received. Based on those surveys, Waldfogel says the spending others do for us produces about 20 percent less satisfaction than the spending we do for ourselves.
Despite the title of his book, Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn’t Buy Presents For The Holidays, Waldfogel says he doesn’t want to end gift giving, in fact he enjoys it. He says he just wants us to think harder about who we are buying for and maybe choose a gift card over that reindeer sweater.