Neoclassical economists in recent years have cited holiday gift giving as an example of inefficiency resulting in social loss. Why? Because the giver cannot know the preferences of the receiver, and is likely to buy something he does not really want. Instead of giving gifts, say these theorists, we should exchange cash, or, better yet, just keep our own money.
But from an Austrian perspective, this mode of analysis turns out to be fraught with fallacy. Read Jeffrey Tucker's piece on the alleged inefficiency of Christmas.