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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-27-2005, 09:28 AM   #41
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Re: holiday spending

We stopped Christmas Cards a few years ago. We still get a few, but when you don't return them, they become less and less. I don't miss getting them, and I sure don't miss sending them. Obligatory cards with pseudo feel-good messages are hypocritical. Now we do the phone calls on the "big" days to friends and relatives. Real communications instead of fake commercial crap.

Wasn't there a big stir a few years ago about the boss sending out his secretary to buy Valentine's Day cards. How's that for sincerity? You don't write the verse on the card, and you don't even bother to go get it.
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-27-2005, 11:19 AM   #42
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Re: holiday spending

I think I'm in the minority here. I enjoy doing the Christmas cards. I only send them to people I care about. I do it when I'm sitting in front of the tv anyway. Takes about three or four evenings. Its nice to spend 2-3 minutes thinking about the person or family, write a line or two about them, us or both and send it off.

I enjoy getting cards in the mail, displaying them, reading them over a few times over the season, and thinking about the people who sent them.

This year (yeah right) I'm going to try to do the mailing labels on the computer, up til now I've hand-written the addresses too. That's a compromise I will make to the time factor. I send about 40 cards.
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-27-2005, 04:54 PM   #43
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Re: holiday spending

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheryl
I think I'm in the minority here.* *I enjoy doing the Christmas cards.* I only send them to people I care about.* I do it when I'm sitting in front of the tv anyway. Takes about three or four evenings.* Its nice to spend 2-3 minutes thinking about the person or family, write a line or two about them, us or both and send it off.

I enjoy getting cards in the mail, displaying them, reading them over a few times over the season, and thinking about the people who sent them.

This year (yeah right) I'm going to try to do the mailing labels on the computer, up til now I've hand-written the addresses too.* That's a compromise I will make to the time factor.* I send about 40 cards.
I hand-write everything and also send about 40 cards. I enjoy it at some level, but OTOH it's another holiday chore to be handled. I do like to keep in touch though.

JG
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-27-2005, 09:09 PM   #44
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Re: holiday spending

Eagle 43
Quote:
Obligatory cards with pseudo feel-good messages are hypocritical. Now we do the phone calls on the "big" days to friends and relatives.* Real communications instead of fake commercial crap.
I agree totally!*
We are in our 16th year of PT'ing. We organize our calendar differently than most people, I suppose, because it is arranged around "high-season, low-season, malaria season, rainy season, dry season, bird flu season, Chinese New Year, Balinese New Year, Buddha/Thai new year," etc. We don't include a "shopping season" in the mix!*

Back in the 'olden days,' when we first started, we and our families made huge attempts to continue celebrating the holidays no matter what country's borders separated us.* I can't tell you how many gifts were snatched at the custom's location on their way to us... (boooo).* *:P The one's that arrived (YAY)* * we had to physically carry thousands of miles by train, plane, boat, bus and taxi (booooo)* :P* to get them back to the States.

Now, I shop all year 'round and in whatever country I am in, and bring presents when I arrive to visit. All presents are lightweight, small and preferably non-breakable (gems from Burma, weavings from Laos, silk robes from Thailand, etc.) We then celebrate any or all occasions I happened to have missed.

When I originally asked the question about how much a certain holiday costs us, I didn't mean just the current ones of Christmas and Hannukah. There is a holiday of one sort or another each month, (Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Mother's/Father's Day, the 4th, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Halloween - and some in between, including birthdays, graduations, anniversaries and baby showers) ... Not to mention the 'pay back' dinners or club and work related events...* *

I admit, it might be a personality flaw, but I simply can't keep up with it all. I don't want a storeroom stuffed with paper shamrocks, santas, pumpkins and hearts. I can't party on each of these holidays and maintain my sanity. It is easier for me to admit that I am a (happy) aberration than to try and fit in.*

On the other hand, I am free to celebrate because it's Tuesday or a half-birthday. I give when there is genuine need, or when moved by my heart. I don't subscribe to calendar induced guilt, and I free you from the same!

Akaisha, (one happy wierdo)
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-27-2005, 11:34 PM   #45
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Re: holiday spending

Presents for my entire extended family, both DW and my side, are only given to kids/grandkids under 18. Along with that, we do get creative and give presents to "family units" (i.e. something they can all share). Where we spend a boatload is on the holiday party we host every year. This year we will probably hit 70 guests. We provide all food and drink, and everyone brings a wrapped gift for the game (cheap but fun). Total holiday spending probably gets close to $1,000. But worth every penny.
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-28-2005, 08:10 AM   #46
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Re: holiday spending

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy
Eagle 43

There is a holiday of one sort or another each month, (Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Mother's/Father's Day, the 4th, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Halloween - and some in between, including birthdays, graduations, anniversaries and baby showers) ...
I could hardly believe how much haloween decorating I saw this year, with lights, and other assorted paraphernalia.

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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-28-2005, 10:27 AM   #47
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Re: holiday spending

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Originally Posted by Martha
I could hardly believe how much haloween decorating I saw this year, with lights, and other assorted paraphernalia.*

To me this is just another part of the commercial culture that many Merkins are sucked into. The commercials and stores convince us that we have to do this crap. Only us free-thinkers and happy weirdos (good moniker, Akaisha!) see through the hype and put the $$ in the ER fund instead.

About 7-8 years ago I visited my brother and sister-in-law (now ex) in February. I went out shopping with her, and was stunned speechless when we stopped in at one of those Party Stores, where she dropped $75 on St. Patrick's Day decorations.

OMG!
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-28-2005, 04:20 PM   #48
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Re: holiday spending

I think that the cost of having family around is worth it. I generally have both sides of the family for Thanksgiving. The cost includes food and drink for the weekend.

Spending money on holiday decorations is one of my splurges (not my husband's). And shopping for gifts is great fun. I teach at a university. After I turn in my final grades for the semester, I take the week before Christmas to shop, wrap gifts, etc. To me, it is worth it. (Of course, many of the gifts are practical in nature - like appliances for new apartment dwellers.)
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-28-2005, 08:10 PM   #49
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Re: holiday spending

Everyone makes their own personal choices, but I find such displays of consumerism bizarre behavior in the extreme. Whatever happened to simply getting together with family and food and some dvds and having a good time?
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-28-2005, 10:20 PM   #50
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Re: holiday spending

Laurence:*
Quote:
We provide all food and drink, and everyone brings a wrapped gift for the game (cheap but fun).* Total holiday spending probably gets close to $1,000.* But worth every penny.
I understand, Laurence. I remember those days, and we did much of the same thing. When I was working insane hours and had lots of discretionary income it was fun and a stress release. When we changed focus, wanting to retire, we saw how much $$ we were spending on waitstaff, bartenders, food, drink and decorations... and chose differently.* 8)* Certainly, I'm not putting you down for your choice. Memories are valuable.

OTOH, I am one of those who loves (inexpensive) party games like charades, pictionary, - anything to make fun of myself and appear a fool -- but only if I am surrounded by forgiving loved ones!*

Sheryl:
Quote:
...and was stunned speechless when we stopped in at one of those Party Stores, where she dropped $75 on St. Patrick's Day decorations.
Yeah, this is what I am thinking about..* I know so many people who enjoy this bit of fun, and it's like a hobby to them. Hard to be too judgmental, when it is these people who keep the economy going, so those of us who are invested can live off the rise in the markets.. strange, huh?* * A small bit of inner conflict registering here...* * but they do have my gratitude...*

Martha:
Quote:
...could hardly believe how much haloween decorating I saw this year, with lights, and other assorted paraphernalia.*
We saw on Bloomberg Finance news here in Cmai how Halloween is the #1 holiday in the amount of $$ spent for decoration 'stuff'. I was surprised, really, and thought the December holidays would have been more!

AltaRed:
Quote:
Everyone makes their own personal choices, but I find such displays of consumerism bizarre behavior in the extreme.* Whatever happened to simply getting together with family and food and some dvds and having a good time?
I'm with ya there on that one...* See reference above to my willingness to display corny behavior.* *

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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-28-2005, 11:06 PM   #51
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Re: holiday spending

Waitstaff? Bartenders? Whoa, we cook it all ourselves, hit smart and final/costco for the booze, and set it out buffet style! It would be fun to have it done up like that, but I expect we'd have to spend a lot more than we are comfortable with! The pictures alone are worth it, but I'd get in trouble if I posted any here...
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-29-2005, 01:34 PM   #52
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Re: holiday spending

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy
Eagle 43 said:*

I don't wanna be a killjoy here by mentioning something like this, but holidays can really eat up the cash. This is a place where Billy and I rely a lot on our own personal creativity. By the time we buy all the doo-dads, all the matching colors, and all the foo-fahs, these types of events can easily add up to 3 figures.*

Has anyone here ever figured out how much a certan holiday has cost them? (I don't mean just presents...) but all the trimmings?*

I do apologize if anyone thinks I'm out of line here...* ** * yet this is a perfect example of where to put money aside for later. Instead of spending, say, $300, why not just spend $250 and bank the rest? No one will suffer from the savings of those $50 bucks..* 8) (will they?)

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Hey Ak.,

I find with regard to presents that it is good to remember that people rarely recall what you bought them last year, let alone the year before. Ask them and see! They have to really think about it! Also, I think going large on the cost of the present doesn't make a different to the recollection either. The $40 vs the $20, etc. It may be that going too cheap is remembered as being "tight," but other than that I don't see spending up as a great idea for either party.

The other really big thing is the shopping for the present. Most people - especially women I'm sad to say - want to have fun shopping for Xmas presents. This leads people (not just women) to buy things that they would like for themselves, and forgot the purpose. The purpose should be to buy what the other person would love, regardless of whether YOU like it! I've had girlfriends refuse to buy me a movie or a CD or something because they deemed it "boring," even though it was what *I* would have loved and appreciated at the time. They instead bought me an article of clothing *they* liked but I was not exactly crazy about. Clothing is always a problem item to buy from someone if they are not with you at the time!

So those are the biggies. I try to always remember that.

Petey

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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-29-2005, 01:46 PM   #53
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Re: holiday spending

Went on line yesterday to shop for the grandchildren. While they were here last week, I tried to really find out what they wanted and would be fun. For holiday cards, we send out about 65 cards and I start the beginning of November and write out a few each evening. I like keeping in touch with family and friends at the holidays and love receiving cards and pictures...
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-29-2005, 02:07 PM   #54
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Re: holiday spending

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Originally Posted by peteyperson
This leads people (not just women) to buy things that they would like for themselves, and forgot the purpose. The purpose should be to buy what the other person would love, regardless of whether YOU like it!

That drives me crazy!! I wanted a bread machine for years, dh knew this but until we stayed with friends and he saw it was something HE would enjoy too he NEVER would have bought me one. Holiday/birthday gift buying is stressful for me because I try to find just the right gift for that person. GCs have lessened that stress and that's what I give unless I find just the right item.
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-29-2005, 10:43 PM   #55
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Re: holiday spending

Laurence:
Quote:
Waitstaff?* Bartenders? Whoa, we cook it all ourselves, hit smart and final/costco for the booze, and set it out buffet style!* It would be fun to have it done up like that, but I expect we'd have to spend a lot more than we are comfortable with!* The pictures alone are worth it, but I'd get in trouble if I posted any here...
*

Laurence, I have to admit, we were having way too much fun and things were getting outta hand..* 8)* Since we owned a restaurant at the time, we did do a lot of the cooking ourselves... but we decided to change our focus and retire early. We had to make mindset changes.. I bet your photos are *priceless~!*
Petey and Outtahere:
Quote:
I've had girlfriends refuse to buy me a movie or a CD or something because they deemed it "boring," even though it was what *I* would have loved and appreciated at the time. They instead bought me an article of clothing *they* liked but I was not exactly crazy about.
.....That drives me crazy!!* I wanted a bread machine for years.....
I don't know why this concept is hard to understand.. a gift is for the other person!* * I love wish lists... bingo! a fabulous gift with no thinking about it.

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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-30-2005, 11:24 AM   #56
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Re: holiday spending

Wish lists seem like "want" lists, and you may as well just give a person the cash and let them get what they want and otherwise stay out of the process.

If I've got to buy someone a gift, I'd rather it be something that showed that I put some thought into what they might like. That doesn't mean it has to be hugely expensive - I've picked up things off of eBay/in used book stores for $15-20 that were very much appreciated as they fit into the hobbies/interests of the person receiving the gift.

cheers,
Michael
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-30-2005, 12:15 PM   #57
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Re: holiday spending

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Originally Posted by The Other Michael
Wish lists seem like "want" lists, and you may as well just give a person the cash and let them get what they want and otherwise stay out of the process.
I disgree with you on this. Assuming a sufficiently large wish list, the person receiving gifts won't get everything they wished for, so the stuff they do get will be a surprise. I know I would not appreciate a gift I wanted any less than a well thought out gift.
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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-30-2005, 01:42 PM   #58
 
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Re: holiday spending

Concerning Wish Lists...

I hate wasted gifts.* For example, yesterday someone gave me a brand new 2006 Movie guide as a belated birthday gift.* Includes reviews and info on movies.* For me, it's totally wasted, since I use www.RottenTomatoes.com.* Nice thought, but a waste of money.

To help avoid this, I got everyone in my family to fill out the "Gift Information Sheet" below.* The result: It didn't really make any difference.

Gift Information Sheet


Name
Date
Hat Size
Shirt or Blouse Size
Dress Size
Pants Size
Waist
Glove Size
Ears Pierced?
Shoe Size
General Gift Preferences



Color Preferences:
Please Avoid...


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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-30-2005, 01:54 PM   #59
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Re: holiday spending

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Originally Posted by TromboneAl
To help avoid this, I got everyone in my family to fill out the "Gift Information Sheet" below.
Good grief, Al. No wonder your daughter couldn't wait to leave home.

Out of curiosity, would you mind showing us the beaver's sheet?


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Re: holiday spending
Old 11-30-2005, 04:59 PM   #60
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Re: holiday spending

Great subject and one that comes up on many other frugal sites as well - I'm guilty of the Xmas card frenzy - because I've lived away from family and friends for so long, I enjoy sending a card with a small message and recap of the year and then I always write something personal. I also enjoy hearing from them. As for the rest of the holiday, pretty much nothing...or just small gifts of home baked cookies or jam or something like that. While I was in Europe, I purchased some generic gift items that I can use in a pinch - tea towels, ceramic mugs, scarves, etc - always practical.

As for the other holidays - don't celebrate those as well - for decorating the house, have old Xmas stuff that I inherited with just a few new things I've picked up over the years - frankly it is such a pain to get the boxes down and re-decorate and then un-decorate, I'm not enthused. Most years, I've been away and haven't bothered to do any decorating except the stocking hanging up.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday - I'm usually at someone else's house and will bring something to eat for the table. I buy gourds and winter squashes at the market and use those in bowls to decorate (and eventually eat) for decoration during fall.

I don't do Halloween - candy or anything - and I don't decorate for any other holidays....so, long story short, the main expenditure is the Xmas cards :-)

Bridget
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