Only Child on Christmas and other year-end expenses

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Ho-Ho – are we all running around malls etc. doing last-minute Christmas shopping? And maxing out the credit card?
Not me. While I enjoy choosing gifts for family and friends, I don’t like crowded stores and malls. I don’t like all the buying frenzy and overspending in today’s world. Despite online shopping, the in-person furor still occurs. And I cannot afford to spend a lot of money. When you have limited finances you have to watch it. For the past few years I’ve made sure that I paid cash – whether crisp bills (now plastic in Canada) and coins or debit for Christmas presentst. I don’t want to pay for Christmas in January and February. Those two months are dismal enough without throwing Christmas debt into the picture.
Back when I was growing up (the grey ages, of course), gift-giving was much simpler and had more meaning than in today’s overly-commercial world. Mom would be at the kitchen table wrapping my presents and Dad’s presents and I would be at the dining room table wrapping what I had bought for her and Dad. We were separated by a closed door. When Mom needed the scotch tape she would give warning and I would quickly cover the presents with wrapping paper. None of us spent a lot of money. We didn’t have a lot, but my parents, Mom especially, were good at budgeting. I remember hearing bits and pieces of their late night budgeting talks after I had gone to bed and they thought I was asleep.
Today I try to emulate Mom’s frugality and generosity. Back in the summer while on holidays I start buying small gifts and try to match the gift with the person. Some shopping is left until December, but except for the wine, I’m done.
Just as well. December also brings a lot of year end expenses – both business and personal. I have the invoices for the business ones but I’m still waiting for two mammoth utility bills – hydro and water/waste. It’s hard to budget when you have to gestimate costs.
And I probably will need new glasses this year as it’s been four years and I’m squinting as I write this. My eye exam is this week. Fortunately I have funds left over from my holiday savings as I didn’t use them all up (didn’t travel to one place I had planned to) and my son, bless him, gave me a Hudson’s Bay department store gift certificate for my birthday this month. So, these two source should cover ¾ or even more of my glasses cost at Hudson Bay’s optical department. I’ve been there to get – you guessed it – a gestimate of the cost.
There is always the worry of unexpected emergency costs with house and computers and I keep my toes crossed. Can’t type with crossed fingers.
Next week’s post I’ll talk about what this holiday season means to me and what it doesn’t mean.
What do you think about the current Christmas spending frenzy? And Boxing Day?

Cheers.
Sharon A. Crawford
Only Child Writes

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2 Comments

Filed under 1950s, 1960s, Christmas, Debt, Sharon A. Crawford

2 responses to “Only Child on Christmas and other year-end expenses

  1. mary macleod

    Hi sharon – Last weekend i had my only trip to wal-Mart to get some things for my great grandchildren. It wasn’t even crowded but i started to get an anxiety attack (a symptom of PD) and i decided that next year it’ll be all on-line or handmade gifts from me. i didn’t do a good job of passing on the Faith, so Santa is much more important than Jesus for most of my family/

    even if one is not a person of faith i would like to see more caring for the poor or visiting those who are lonely.

  2. Nice to hear from you Mary. Great grandkids? Time does fly.

    Yes, the malls are crazy this time of year. So were parts of the outdoor Christmas market at The Distillery in Toronto. The market is based on the old European markets and I like to go every year. I did manage to get my fudge but didn’t like the security guards making people line up to get inside the outside market at the main gate. So I went around to the side entrance (no security guards) and entered there – not crowded at all – even empty spaces. The crowds were in pockets and I think the guards were over-reacting.

    I’ll write you a long email this Christmas season. Meantime you might want to check out my new mystery novel Beyond Blood. Information about that, including where to purchase online in print and e-copy, the main characters speaking out, and a recent radio interview I did at: http://www.sharonacrawfordauthor.com

    Cheers.

    Sharon

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