You could buy a Wii instead.

3 Dec

My boyfriend tells me that the average American spends over $600 on Christmas presents. This year I’m sending my family the following email, because I know they’re as cash-strapped as I am.

Dear Family,
I hope you are all enjoying the cold weather and perks of the season (peppermint hot chocolate; year end Top Ten lists; Oscar-caliber movies). In previous years, we’ve splurged on cookbooks, lava lamps, karaoke machines, and bath towels. This year I’m writing to you all in the hopes that we can skip the presents under the tree, and instead agree to a low-cost holiday gift etiquette alternative. Here are some suggestions for pinching pennies without skimping on the cheer.

  • Homemade Hanukkah: cook brunch, bake cookies, make candles or origami…whatever floats your boat, but it has to be homemade
  • Round Robin Ramadan: we each buy a gift for exactly one other person, assigned randomly
  • Ten Dollar Tet: we all buy gifts, but keep ’em cheap
  • It’s a Christmas Miracle!: we can all pitch in and give a donation to a deserving organization (my favorite is Kiva)
  • New Year, New Knowledge: we each teach each other something we know how to do – like solve a Rubik’s Cube, or draw an octopus
  • Good Karma Kwanzaa: need help setting up your computer? Need someone to touch up the paint in your bathroom? Let’s do a favor exchange!

So, Family, please let me know if you’d be satisfied with any of the above. If I’ve learned anything at all from watching holiday episodes of my favorite sitcoms, it’s that any of these would be more in line with the “real” meaning of the holidays than waiting in long lines at Target.


I’ll let you know what they say.


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