Starting in late November, Americans will spend upwards of $579 billion on holiday gifts. I count myself among this elite group. Though self-gifting is on the rise, most of us are focused on finding the perfect presents for all 37 people on our list, including: the dog groomer, the kids' school bus drivers, and that super-helpful town librarian.
We're motivated to buy these gifts for sundry reasons: gratitude (to show our love and appreciation for others), civic responsibility (to keep the national economy afloat), internalized voice of bad mother (to stave off shame and guilt), and boredom (we've got to do something on those long dark nights once daylight saving time ends).
For the most part, gratitude inspired my family's gift giving as I was growing up. We were both predictable and orderly; wish lists were made and handed to the appropriate parties not long after Thanksgiving. On Christmas morning, an equal mix of practical gifts, flannel nightgowns, as well as ...1