I kinda blur everything from Thanksgiving through Christmas altogether--the resulting assault on my finances gives me a whopping headache.
And therein, lies my greatest discontent. How can I enjoy the holidays when I am always worried about its impact on my finances? If the true joy of the holidays is in family warmth, why are my kids and grandkids less than amused if all they get from me is socks and underwear?
Both Thanksgiving and Christmas take place at my home. My kids bring side dishes, but I'm the one buying and preparing the turkey and any other main dishes.
I'm the one who buys the "big" gifts for my children and grandchildren.
I am determined that this year will be different. I am determined to pay attention to my finances and NOT to use my credit cards.
I have a budget for the holidays. It is $1845, with a leeway of $300 due to a check that will come in December 31st.
You'd think that would be enough, but my guess is that it will be close.
Part of the reason is that at least $400 will be earmarked for gifts for my sister. Why my sister, you might well ask? Well, since our parents died, she and I are the only ones who really remember each other's birthdays, and carry on our parent's tradition of lots of nice presents under the Christmas tree. My sister has no children, and a six figure income. I may spend $400 on her, but I know that she will spend over a thousand on me. My lime-green couch, my lifetime Tivo, the sink in the upstairs bathroom are all courtesy of my sister, not to mention the Coach bag that shows up with my name on it every year. I am seriously going to ask her for a dishwasher this year! So, within the framework of my finances, I take good care of my sister at Christmas.
Then, there's my FIVE children (what WAS I thinking?) and their SIX children--ELEVEN folks who are expecting wonderful (read that: expensive) things from mom or grandma.
Plus, there are the hangers on--the boyfriends and spouses who will show up, and for whom there needs to a little something under tree.
Oh, and there's the tree ($20) and the wreath for the door ($17) and something for the Salvation Army bellringers ($20) and. . .
My plan, for the moment, is budget $150 apiece for my adult children, $50 for each of my youngest grandchildren, $75 for the two older grandkids, and $25 for several miscellaneous folks.
I'm curious how this compares to the rest of the world. Too much? Not enough?