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How Many Days ’til Christmas?

Written many years ago about Christmas Coming. It’s a grinchy bit of fodder, but maybe fun for some folks.

Christmas is coming, and the goose is getting fat; however, how many of us have completed our Christmas Financial Carnage (aka Christmas Shopping), and how many of us have an Advent Budget to follow either? My opinion is not that many of us are that well organized to have done either, but I am willing to hear comments to the contrary.

Christmas is coming, and for some of us, it is like the Polar Express. This is a normal reaction to the unknown or, worse, the unplanned, but it does tend to detract from the festive feel of this time of year. I do tend to admire (and loathe at the same time) those who have their entire holiday planned and have all of their shopping done because I don’t think I will ever reach that level of Zen in terms of planning in my life.

As my wife does point out, there are many aspects to planning for the holidays:

  • Decide on a budget, and then figure out how much you will end up ignoring it. Interestingly, no matter how big a slush fund you think you have for overspending, it is never big enough (I think this is more of a wedding thing, but it works for Christmas, too).
  • Who will you be buying presents for, and what will you do when you find out that they have purchased you something? Do you have a few emergency gifts, just in case of issues?
  • For those husbands reading, please don’t fall for the, “… you don’t have to buy me anything this year…” trick by your wife, you will pay for it in so many ways later. Yes, I fell for that.
  • Who will do the shopping? If one spouse does all the shopping, it can create tension in the family. The spouse who didn’t do any shopping who then asks, “What did we buy <so and so> for Christmas?” is doomed (and I do mean doomed).
  • Are you having a party? Remember to budget for that (unless you make it a BYOB, then invite friends with similar tastes, so at least you have good leftovers). Remember the person who brought liverwurst to your party last year? Do you want leftover liverwurst dip?
  • Are you decorating? That can get expensive, especially if you want an inflatable, lit Santa riding a Helicopter. You may run up a big electric bill as well.
  • Are you travelling? That can cause no end of expenses, and fun. Trust me, doing a triangular journey from one set of grandparents to the other and home can take a lot of fun out of the holiday and money out of your wallet.

Is there any other festive fun that will bleed you financially (and emotionally) dry that I might have missed?

The Globe and Mail

Oh, and enjoy your festive merry holiday preparations (ho, ho, ho).

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