It was one of those most pleasant emails, an invite to a holiday coffee party from a friend—always a welcome thing to pop up in my inbox. But after the details of the invitation was this message: “Please feel free to bring a friend, but not any hostess gifts. Instead, please consider bringing a manual can opener. Need an explanation? It’s hard to open the can of green beans you got at the food shelf if you don’t have a can opener, and equally hard to use your electric can opener if your power’s been turned off.”
According to a study by the American Research Group, Americans will spend an average of $854 in holiday gifts.