I wanted to interrupt this holiday hiatus to wish everyone a Merry Christmas,and a belated Happy Hannukah, etc.
It is a dark and stormy night up here in the northern regions and I'm about to turn in for the night. I have been celebrating Christmas with my family in a drawn-out kind of way: tonight a mini-Christmas with my sister's family and my parents, tomorrow Xmas eve with just my parents, and then Xmas day to be spent with the huge extended clan.
Just to bring this to my constant topic of money, I can say that I have spent more on gifts this year than last-- I just ended up buying a lot more gifts and giving fewer books that I could get for little or no money. Of all the gifts I gave my niece and nephew, I think the most rewarding was actually the cheapest: I got these weird rubber squeezy balls at Pier One-- it's hard to describe but they are covered with mesh so that when you squeeze them, the plastic pops out in multi-colored blobs and it almost looks like a bunch of techni-color grapes. I found them endlessly fascinating and so did the kids-- it turned out to be difficult for their little hands to squeeze them effectively, but they quickly learned to use their feet to stomp on them instead. Best of all, they were only $2 each!
Meanwhile, I can't help observing my sister's household. There are lots of new little decorative touches, and the kids' biggest Santa present is a very expensive desk for doing art projects. I think it was over $400. Yes, it may last for a long time, but I had to wonder if it makes sense to buy something like that for two toddlers who would be just as content to do their fingerpainting on the floor, given that my sister and her husband seem to be racking up credit card debt for all these purchases. Anyway, it's not the time to be snarky about these matters, and I don't really mean to be. It's just hard nowadays to separate the holiday season from its associated frenzy of spending. Especially when young kids are involved, everyone wants to feel like Christmas is full of wonderful, special treats, and that the everyday rules we make about our spending shouldn't apply. I'm no exception-- I think I spent at least twice as much on my niece and nephew as I'd originally intended to. My usual gift-buying thriftiness just goes out the window where they're concerned! But then I get photos like this that remind me it's worth it!
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!