Try this: spend $100 or less on holiday gifts this year. I think you'll find you can achieve a more rewarding holiday season by not making the silly assumption that the pleasure you cause and appreciation you demonstrate is directly related to the pain of subsequent credit card debt.
Here’s the bottom line: we have so much stuff that a pile of presents is no longer exciting, no longer novel. [Read more of this post from Bill McKibben]
What you may be really surprised to find is how little you miss the old way of doing things. My family gave up the gift thing in favor of just stockings a few years back and the holidays for us are now a relaxed, warm time to hang out together and share cool stuff like foods & music & books & movies we've discovered over the past year. A lot of the time we even just enjoy being together each doing our own things and occasionally piping up with good lines from books or a pretty new image found on Flickr. No big production, no big expectations, no comparing your stack against someone else's; just good company and tasty things to eat and the absence of obligation.
3 thoughts on “The Hundred Dollar Christmas”
but at least my xmas shopping is (for the most part) DONE. i said i refused to set foot in a mall from thanksgiving till new year’s, but now i want some rainboots. we’ll see. 🙂
On my side of the family (now just my sister and her extended family – kids and grandkids), I’ve gone to ‘disposable’ gifts, i.e. Hickory Farms or some other edible package, that can be ordered online and delivered in a nice package, one to each family. That way, there is nothing left after a while to clutter their life, except the food wrappers 8-).
On my wife’s side of the family (of which she is one of seven siblings) I pushed for a ’round-robin’ (my Mother was one of nine in her family, and had a circular slide rule affair that her brother had constructed out of grayboard, so that one could rotate to a year, and the inner names gave to the outer) or yearly drawing for gift giver/recipients soon after we got married, because buying gifts for everyone nearly drove us broke, while we were still in college. For her family, we draw names each year amongst the adults, and everyone gives to the new babies each year, and after that, the kids are in a gift-swap drawing amongst themselves, until they decide they are old enough to be in the adult pool. We place a low ($40) dollar limit, to discourage extravagant one-up-man-ship.
The only silliness so far is that each year, various folks ‘swap’ assignments with other families, so that their own spouses end up buying ‘for so-and-so’ from the other family. It gets so complex sometimes, that some folks have gotten multiple gifts one year, and none the next (bummer time, as you can imagine).
Recently, more and more, I’ll end up getting something minor for myself early on(like a new accessory tool for my Shopsmith) and my wife will declare, “that’s your Christmas present”. Suits me, since I’m much surer to use something I picked out myself than some random bauble obtained from the ‘gift tower’ at Kohl’s, or somesuch.
…he has a great point about “The Grinch” — the Grinch thinks that tinsel and toys are the most important part of Christmas! Next time I feel like a Grinch when I don’t love listening to the same carols for two months, I have to remind myself that I’m really just a Scrooge…