Support Local Biz: November 29, 2008
I worked with John Grady a few years ago when he played Captain Patterson in the FGM. You can catch him in the upcoming Ian McShane project Kings, and in a short called Doga that played at Tropfest this year.
I've also been following Ramit's personal-finance tips for the last few weeks — "following" as in "reading with interest," not as in "doing all of them" (although one of them led me to catch a major problem with my cell-phone service and saved me some major money). One of his tips, NoChristmasGiftsThisYear.com, got me thinking, because the fact is, I don't need anything, and the things you could say I "need," either I don't feel comfortable asking anyone to buy me because of the price (it's time for a new computer, I'd like a better bike, etc.), or I'd rather just buy for myself so I can control the specs (computer; bike), so if someone approached me with that idea, I wouldn't mind.
The holiday-gift social contract is so fraught as it is — what do you buy for a couple when you're really "more friends with" one spouse; how do you match the ugly pricey gewgaw your mother-in-law got you when you make 11K a year in grad school and didn't like said gewgaw anyway; how impersonal/cheap can you get with your business contacts; the list goes on and on, and in this economy, the resentment level is ratcheted up several notches because, on top of the emotional gift anxiety, you've got the dread of the January bills…and if the economy hasn't touched you up as badly as some, you worry about overspending for people who can't return the favor and may feel awkward about it even though you don't care. As Gen once aptly put it, "I know it's the thought that counts, I just have…too many thoughts."
Lisa's had a few entries of late on homemade gifts and how we view them, the Black Friday tradition, and so on, and I thought I'd open the floor — has anything changed for you guys this year vis-a-vis holiday shopping? Any dead weight get booted off your gift list? Any deal-making going on between siblings to the tune of "just get me X thing, here's the URL, do not spend any more than that"? Have you instituted a spending cap, total or per person?
This time last year, we vented about the post office; feel free to visit that entry and open a vein. This year, let's talk about holiday budgeting stress.
I'll start. A couple of people did get trimmed off the gift list; we do have some intra-family "let's pool our resources and get Y this big Z" dealing going on; my holiday-card list is going to see major downsizing (this is a time issue, primarily, and if I can't get an in-focus picture of the Hobe in novelty antlers in the next two days, it may not happen at all this year); a few people will get handwritten coupons for activities, not because I don't want to spend on them but because I would rather spend time with them.
December looms: how you doin'?
Tags: Black Friday friends Gen happy hellidays John Grady local biz Mr. Stupidhead retail sites Tropfest