Tips | November 29, 2011

Four more tips for the festive season

Are homemade gifts best? Here are four more tips on choosing gifts and celebrating the festive season.

Our first four tips for the festive season suggest celebrating with a gift list to boost the joys of giving and receiving gifts – and celebrating with a diary date or two to cut procrastination. Our next four offer more intelligent tips for the festive season.

1. Celebrate with … an eye on your credit card: We spend on credit cards differently to the way we spend cash, if a large body of research is to be believed. The theory is that the physical pain we feel parting with physical cash is diminished when we swipe a credit card now and pay the bill later. With emotions (and temptation to spend) high during the festive season, it might pay to keep a closer eye on credit cards – or consider a cash only diet to keep tight control on money.

2. Celebrate with… homemade gifts: You’ve made a batch of Christmas pies, handmade cards or a toy for a child. This do-it-yourself way of making gifts can be particularly satisfying. The so-called IKEA effect explained by author and behavioural economist Dan Ariely tells how we value things we make ourselves more – and the recipient of the creations might as well.

3. Celebrate with … family and friends: Spending time with friends and family has been found to make us happy, with academic Nattavudh Powdthavee researching and putting a price on it. He estimated that, for the average English person, seeing friends or family on most days rather than once or twice a week increases happiness by the same amount as a pay rise of £15,000 (€17,500) a year. Taking it one step further, time with loved ones could well add a happy boost to the festive season.

4. Celebrate with … doing something: A ticket to a concert or a holiday away could be a good way to celebrate the festive season. Many happiness economists argue that experiences (such as going to a show or on vacation) make people happier than objects (such getting as a new dinner set or coat). One example is the research paper Does consumption buy happiness? from the United States, which says part of the joy is – again – spending time with others.

If you like these tips, take a look at our first four tips and final four tips for the festive season.

eZonomics team
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