Episode Information

WWL: The Business of Christmas
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
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In this episode:

Tired of buying and getting presents that nobody actually wants?


Episode Audio

49:03 minutes (23.55 MB)
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Economist Joel Waldfogel says that we're about to be hit by a tornado, a red tornado. But we shouldn't be caught unaware, because this cyclone hits every year, and he's got a name: Santa. Waldfogel says the business of Christmas actually destroys value, taking millions of consumer dollars annually and turning them into dissatisfaction. Coming up, Where We Live, we’ll talk with Waldfogel about his new book, Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn’t Buy Presents for the Holidays. We’ll talk about the culture of holiday waste, how modern holidays compare to the holidays of yesteryear, and how credit has changed the holiday game forever.

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Listener comment from Fred

A gift to the NPR station of choice so great programing such as this can continue.... Happy Holidays...

Listener email from Joan

I totally agree with your guest. This year my husband and I will give no gifts, and hopefully receive none. Year after year I get things from people who do not consider (and seemingly do not care) what I/we might be interested in receiving. Each year, I take these unwanted gifts to the local thrift store in the box (practically wrapped) and “throw them away”

I am so happy with our decision this year not to participate. Instead, we will go see West Side Story on Broadway.

Happy Holidays!

Listener email from Steve

Back in the 60s, my mother asked us if we would rather travel than exchange gifts.  We were a family of 7 and spent a lot of money on gifts.  We choose travel and now I am happy to say that I have traveled to more than 34 of the state capitols and state museums, toured many museums and national parks.  We have no regrets here…