Down With Wedding Gifts

Matthew Yglesias thinks we should give graduation gifts instead

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 11, 2013 11:16 AM CDT

(Newser) – The custom of giving wedding presents began when people were getting married quite young, likely broke, and in possession of few household goods—so why are we still giving them today? If anything, many of today's married couples are merging two households and have too much stuff. The tradition is "outdated, inefficient, unfair, and unnecessary," and it's time for it to die, writes Matthew Yglesias in Slate. Think about it: Most of the time, engaged couples register for all the things "they haven't bought for themselves because they think they're overpriced," putting wedding gifts "in the pure realm of deadweight loss."

Plus, there's the fact that more and more people aren't marrying at all, and thus will never receive their own gifts even though they keep on doling out gifts to friends. "Married people already live longer and earn more than single people; we don’t also need to benefit from wealth redistribution," Yglesias writes. If you want to give a gift that's actually helpful, bestow it upon someone who just graduated from college, he suggests. After all, "the 21st century’s debt-laden new grads are at roughly the age and life circumstances that the wedding-present tradition is suited for." Click for Yglesias' full column.

  (Shutterstock)
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