Here are nine sociological rules for giving gifts at Christmas. Several things to note:
1. This comes out of the long-running study of “Middletown,” otherwise known as Muncie, Indiana. I am still amazed at all of the material uncovered over the decades in this project.
2. These rules were originally published in a 1984 article in the American Journal of Sociology titled “Rule Enforcement Without Visible Means: Christmas Gift Giving in Middletown.” I tend to think of AJS as being austere so I’m not quite sure what to make of the inclusion of this article…
3. I wonder if some of these rules have changed in recent years.
4. One final question: if a sociologist started explaining his or her family’s gift giving practices in this way to the participants, how many families would have a favorable reaction?