Even before I found out I was going to be laid off at the end of the year, I'd already had the discussion with my extended family. We decided that this would be one of those holidays where we only buy gifts for the kids.
It's not the first time we've done this. The economy has been rough for a while now, and we make the decision from year to year based on how well everyone has been staying afloat. I think keeping the gifts to a minimum makes for a very relaxed and pleasant celebration. We take the emphasis off the stuff and bring it back to the people (and the food, of course).
This year more than ever, the whole holiday shopping season phenomenon seems absolutely alien to me. The store decorations, gift guides, ads and e-mails touting various bargains just don't compute.
Then I heard about people who are already camping out for Black Friday sales. Seriously? It's really worth it to these people to spend a week away from their families and miss Thanksgiving just to save a few bucks on a bunch of consumer products? Talk about having your priorities out of whack.
I'm looking forward to spending the days between now and Christmas doing things I really enjoy, while other people are out sweating over gift lists and fighting crowds.
I'll bake cookies, make candy and decorate my house. I'll have friends and family over or I'll go to their houses. We'll drink hot chocolate with butterscotch schnapps and hot cider with spiced rum. I'll watch DVDs of "Bad Santa," "Elf," "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" and maybe even the Rifftrax "Star Wars Holiday Special."
And I'll bet not one person will elbow me or step on my foot that whole time.