When I say times are tough, it’s not exactly news. My family, like a lot of others in North America, is not only frightened of investment losses and impending layoffs, we’re already feeling it. Since money is sparse, my parents and I have decided to “cancel” Christmas. No gifts!
My mother is a supervisor in a large corporation’s travel department. She oversees corporate travel and their clients include an ailing North American car manufacturer, a bailed out American bank and an investment bank that filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. Business in 2009 isn’t looking very good and there’s a real chance she’ll get laid off in the new year.
Knowing this, my parents are trying to save money just in case. Mom’s near retirement, but not quite ready for it. She doesn’t like the idea of not doing anything, especially if early retirement means less desirable health coverage. In efforts to save money, we agreed we wouldn’t get Christmas presents for each other. While others may find this a terribly sad, I’m actually looking forward to Christmas this year—more than other years. Two less gifts to buy means less time in a crowded shopping mall. That means more time with loved ones.
Your two cents: I know we’re not the only family approaching the holidays differently. Are you and your family changing your holiday spending habits this year?