This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.
I love Christmas. I like getting together with my family and friends, eating tons of food and drinking what may be considered an abnormally high quantity of alcoholic breakfast drinks (I promise, this only happens on most major stat holidays). One part of Christmas that I don’t really like as much as an adult is presents….especially with my families. In the past few years, both my wife’s and my families have done a gift draw, where you draw a name and are responsible for buying something at a fixed price level (say $50).
I have found this method of gift exchange kind of silly, and have made my objections well known to my (very patient) wife. My question was – why don’t we just stand around in a circle and pass a $50 bill and then go buy ourselves something that we really want? The whole premise of the exchange was kind of funny. I get along with my whole family, but unless my wife tells them what I’m into, they would have no idea what I’m interested in.
This Christmas, my mom didn’t get around to organizing a gift exchange until late and called and asked what I thought we should do. I told her that instead of a gift exchange, why not just get together like we always do, and just have a nice visit, as well as eating way too much food. At the same time, my wife’s mom came (independent from my objections, which I kept to myself and my wife) to the conclusion that the gift exchange seemed silly and maybe next year, we’ll just make sure that my nephews get a few presents and keep it low key.
For me, these new systems are exactly what I’m looking for – the same family time without the wasted spending. My wife and I will still exchange presents – mainly stuff that each of us know the other would have bought for ourselves over the year, but held off because it was too much of a “want” or not really all that necessary.
I would like the holidays to be less present-oriented and more family-centered. I don’t really get to see a lot of my family and friends as much as I’d like to. The best memories I have of Christmases as a kid were quiet afternoons after the craziness of the morning – playing board games, listening to music and eating snacks that we usually didn’t get. I couldn’t tell you what I got in 1994, but I do remember playing a specific board game with my parents and brother and having a great time.
What’s you or your family’s present-giving policy? Do you have a favourite annual Christmas tradition?