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Presents in blessings Wonly ! December 6, 2006

Posted by Sharath Rao in humor, life.
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Since its Christmas/New Year, this post on giving gifts might be relevant.

While some Christmas cards are sent out of genuine goodwill, many Christmas card exchanges are sub-optimal equilibria. In other words, both parties are only sending cards to reciprocate last year’s card. Both would happily agree to stop, but it is embarrassing to be the first after so many years of mechanical exchange.

Funny, isnt it. That actually reminds me of two things –

Firstly, I dont know if any of you have read the above notes before. If not, somebody I know is anything but myopic. Several years ago when person X and I were planning to send a birthday card to someone we knew, a half serious person X remarked – “If we give this year and forget to give next year, it will be bad. So lets not start a tradition. “

Tim is quick to add :

However, rather than abandoning Christmas altogether as a lost cause, bear in mind that there is an emotional side to our annual ritual. Waldfogel’s research explicitly excludes the “sentimental value” of gifts. You can make sure that the sentimental benefits outweigh the cost by giving smaller presents but taking more care over them. If you must give to those whose tastes you do not understand, send cash.

Secondly thing : I know I am getting on your nerves here but think about it – why do every wedding invitations say “Presents in blessings only.” ? And if they do, why do people who attending these weddings not heed to this. This again is another example of sub-optimal equilibria as Tim calls it. Bridge/Groom’s family would love to remove that sentence off because they probably dont mind receiving gifts – after unlike birthdays most people get married only once. Also some attendees would love to arrive without gifts because most people attend more than just one marriage and gifting selectively might set off a storm. But who will blink first ?

Now lets get a little creative ( and sadistic ) – what is the worst thing you can put in the wedding card instead of “Presents in blessings only.” ?

a) Presents in disguise only. ( since some things are a blessing in disguise, atleast some things in disguise are likely to be blessings 🙂 )

b) Dont be the only one to not bring a present ! ( A game theorist’s wedding card )

c) Please visit http://www.expensiveweddinggifts.com if you cant think of an approriate ( read appropriately expensive ) wedding gift.

d) We do/dont accept credit cards.

e) We would appreciate it if could consider blessings, among other things, as wedding presents.

Or just the above :

e) If you must give to those whose tastes you do not understand, send cash.

Ha ! My cousin is getting married one of these days and its my first chance since I started earning to actually make a wedding gift. Its also my first and last chance to build a reputation of a person who :

a) gifts only in cash
b) gifts household appliances, book club/magazine subscriptions, financial instruments etc.
c) gifts things people never use
d) something really weird*
e) never makes a gift

Here is a caveat though.

New research suggests that the better you know someone, the harder it can be to predict their taste. According to researchers at Tilburg University and Kathiolieke University, we rely too heavily on preconceived notions because we often think we’re much more similar to the people we love than we actually are.

This post has a little too much ammunition and so maybe I should have probably waited until my marriage to put up this post. Also dont hesitate to send me your wedding card – I promise not to search for that dreaded phrase. If I do, I promise not to ask you if you really mean it. And if I do, I promise not to fail to apologize for my imprudence. 🙂

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Comments»

1. jay - December 26, 2007

presence in blessings only;)

2. Randomizer - December 27, 2007

Blessings in presents only

3. Sharath Rao - December 27, 2007

jay – i like that – sounds more like a freudian slip 😀

and you randomizer, will watch out for your invitation man. You are marked !!


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