Christmas is coming, and the "voluntary December calamity" of destruction of billions of dollars in value is under way, writes George Will. People will splurge on gifts their relatives and friends don't want or need, and the discrepancy between the cost of the present and its value to the recipient adds up to wasted billions, Will writes in the Washington Post.
"Were it not for sentimentality about sentiments, which are highly overrated, we would behave rationally, giving cash, thereby avoiding value subtraction," Will writes. Americans squandered a full $12 billion in value last year on gifts, according to the author of Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays. He suggests that people trying to shop for the person who has everything make a donation to charity instead.
(Read more economics stories.)