Friday, December 22, 2006

Sociological rules of Christmas gift giving

Sociologists will an analyze anything people do, no matter how taken-for-granted the activity. ( I suppose that's why I like it so much--always trying to look at things a new way). For the season, here is an except about from the famous "Middletown" study. Theodore Caplow, and a team of researchers, interviewed s in Muncie, Indiana (1979) about gift giving, and they came up with eight unwritten rules for gift giving.
Here are the first four:

1) The Tree Rule. Married couples with children of any age should put up Christmas trees in their home. Unmarried persons with no living children should not put up Christmas trees. Unmarried parents (widowed, divorced or adoptive) may put up trees but are not required to do so.

2) The Wrapping Rule. Christmas gifts must be wrapped before they are presented.

3) The Decoration Rule. Any room where Christmas gifts are distributed should be decorated by affixing Christmas emblems to the walls, the ceiling, or the furniture.

4) The Gathering Rule. Christmas gifts should be distributed at gatherings where every person gives and receives gifts.

Do you think that these still hold today? Are there other rules you can think of?

1 comment:

Knumb said...

I'd like to respond, but I have to get a tree (we waited because we have a 1 year old who will plow through it like Sherman to the sea), the whole Ryan family is coming over and we haven't decorated (or cleaned), and I haven't gotten gifts for everyone, much less wrapped 'em for anyone.

Merry X-mas. (X marks the tongue in cheek)