Holiday gifts in 2016
December 19, 2016
I’m not big on Christmas gifts like I used to be. I used to overcompensate for loneliness and being poor by trying to give as many gifts as I could, wrapped and tied up with a nice bow.
These days, I have as healthy and happy a family life here in the Bay Area as I could hope for, and supportive friends all over.
I still love giving gifts but only when they’re truly meaningful, usually practical, and serve a purpose in the lives of the recipients rather than taking up room, gathering dust, or being regifted because who needs a fourth coffeemaker in their kitchen? I know some people have go-to gifts they give everyone for simplicity’s sake – I give books, for example, but can it please not be a huge, clunky, appliance that only one person in the family can actually use?
At this point in life, my money wants to go toward retirement investing, building our real estate empire, and helping people and animals.
Fantasy gifts: if money and space were no object
$290: Seamus would get the 93-inch plush bear from Costco. Currently on sale for $260. It’s a tossup whether he would sleep on it or tear it apart. Probably both.
$70: JuggerBaby would get this magnetic tiles set. But ze would have to donate or pass along at least three other toys.
$5000: PiC would get that super fancy bike he admires from afar and we’d get a sitter twice a month so he could go on super long rides on the weekend.
$2000: We have five favorite daycare full time teachers, and five part time teachers or support staff, who have been amazing with JuggerBaby. They’re warm, caring, attentive, all things that make it possible for us to leave zir and work on the weekdays. We’d love to be able to give them each a substantial thanks.
$5000: There are several charities I’d like to support with more than just a small bit of cash.
Reality gifts: because money does matter
$250: Family gifts. I think all but $50 of this is frivolous and we should skip doing it altogether but we have yet to convince the family of this so here it is. The remaining $50 goes towards clothing for the kids so I don’t mind that, since we all pool the clothes we use and pass them along.
At least $100 of that $250 will be gift cards that I purchased at a 4% discount, using GiftCardGranny. The second $100 will mostly be covered by a gift card we received, and the last $50 was covered by gift cards that I earned through Swagbucks and the Carter’s Rewards from last year’s gift purchases. Most of these gifts won’t cost much out of pocket at all, I’ll just have to wrap them.
$75 + $100: The daycare organizes gifts for the center by way of contributions from parents, requesting $60-75 per child, per family. They pool it, then split it across all the teachers and staff at the center. We give the $75, which works out to about a dollar per person, but we’re also going to give some small token of appreciation to our favorites. A card, and perhaps a small gift card? I’m not sure yet but we have about a day to figure this out.
Making new traditions
While I work towards a gift-free holiday season, PiC and I splurged on our own Christmas tree for our home. We went with an artificial tree, to my inner sadness because I miss the smell of a fresh new tree, but the deal was good enough for what we were looking for. We found it at Target, originally $67, marked down to $42 which was covered with a gift card. Add a couple strings of lights and a few ornaments, and voila, 4 weeks of wintery, Christmassy cheer in our living room.
It feels very splurgey, we don’t typically spend money on decor, but it’s a long term happiness thing.