Christmas is a great hook to think about economic concepts. For students, the urgency of course requirements eases and it’s permissible to deepen your interests. For interested laypeople, time to read allows you to broaden your horizons. Perhaps you received a “pop economics” book as a present, or – like me – you look forward every year to The Economist’s Christmas Special. I wanted to share some of my favourite resources.

  • The classic application of economics analysis to Christmas is The Deadweight Loss of Christmas.
  • But here are Tony Gill and Michael Thomas arguing that gift giving is in fact good thing for economists to do:

  • The Bank of England produced a Christmas Quiz for 2020
  • The best Christmas Party in a movie was Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
  • The best one in a TV show was The Office.
  • For a fascinating account of what frankincense and myrrh are, and their role in the evolution of global trade, see Bernstein, W. (2008) “A Splendid Exchange” – pp. 58-67
  • To see that is is physically possible for Father Christmas to do what he needs to do, see here.
  • For my article on why our traditional model of christmas is communist propaganda, and the truth is far more romantic, see my review of The Polar Express.

Finally, don’t forget to do some charity work:

“Christians should not celebrate festivals in a state of drunkenness and gluttony, or by dancing or merrymaking, but by tending to orphans and paupers, and by helping and giving to the poor and infirm… Woe betide those who have not observed the wisdom of the scriptures and who have idled, danced and indulged in wine” Cyril of Turov (see Bazan, L., 2014, A History of Belarus, Glagoslav Publications, p.64)