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December 10, 2008


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My whole family seems to be in debt, but they love buying gifts for everyone at Christmas. My wife, sister, and I have been trying to politely suggest each year a different way to celebrate the holidays besides everyone getting in more debt by buying more gifts. We tried "no gifts", but that didn't fly. Then, we went for "just for kids", and it went over slightly better. Last year, we implemented a "really dirty santa" that seemed to make everyone happy. It is the traditional dirty santa with a twist. Instead of everyone buying gifts for the gift exchange, we all bring stuff we don't want anymore. Basically, we all agree to re-gift. It allows the family to still have things to open without having to go out and buy anything. It is funny to watch people see gifts that they have gotten people in the past. Maybe it will also help them realize how much money we have wasted in years past on crap nobody wanted :).

I would add one more to this list: house-hop. Instead of entertaining, we house-hop all Christmas. It can be kind of a drag, but it's cheap. It's partly required by social norms (grandparents live locally, must be visited, and sister-in-law has a lock on the Christmas Eve shindig). It's also become more desirable since we really don't have the budget to entertain. Now all we have to do is pitch in a dish or two.

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