Searching for a Sense of Meaning in Gifts

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What did you get your mother for Mother’s Day? Was it beautifully thoughtful, or a rush job you fixed with a few clicks of the mouse and a credit card?

Mothers are probably more forgiving than most about thoughtless gifts, but statistics show that astonishingly large numbers of Americans return or exchange gifts — more than a third of all gift recipients and nearly half of all people younger than 35 returned gifts to stores last holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation.

Because returning gifts is not something one discusses in polite company, the real number may be far higher — and this doesn’t begin to count those who “re-gift” presents they don’t want. Recognizing that recipients are often unhappy with gifts, givers are increasingly enclosing receipts with gifts to allow for exchanges; 49 percent did last year, up slightly from the year before.

All this is causing economists, psychologists and philosophers to scratch their heads.

According to the National Retail Federation, a third of all gift recipients returned their presents last holiday season, up from 2004. (By Julia Ewan — The Washington Post)

Read more here

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