The Christmas market originated in Germany, Austria, South Tyrol and Alsace, but has now spread throughout Europe to become a popular tradition. Generally opened around four weeks before Christmas, the 'Christkindlmarkt' celebrates everything about the holiday season and is guaranteed to evoke a festive spirit in visitors.
Now don't get me wrong, with 4 children myself I understand how hard the balancing act is between making my kids happy and only spending within my means. As glorious as it is to see their shiny happy faces as they rip open their presents, it is not great if their parents start the new year drowning in debt and worrying about how to afford three pairs of new school shoes.
One thing is for sure - saying thank you is a nice thing to do. It makes you feel good, and makes the receiver feel valued. We may not subscribe to the hand written parchments of old, with ruler straight lines and wafty words of gratitude penned from inky quills, but we do still subscribe to basics of liking to give and liking to be thanked.
During this season charity fund raisers actively appeal for the disadvantaged. They almost universally don't ask for presents - much preferring you donate cash - because this is pragmatically the most useful contribution you could make. If it's obviously more helpful than other gifts in the domain of charity, so economists remain perplexed as to the irrational paradox of continuing to buy each other 'suboptimal' presents?