Holiday Spending: Time to Cut Back on Christmas Presents?

Both of my parents are one of 10 children (I know, right?). As you can imagine, holidays in my family were boisterous affairs full of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, first-cousins-twice-removed and more. Holiday spending on feeding, hosting and buying gifts for that many people could rival the national budgets of some countries. But my family made sure that the financial and physical burdens were distributed evenly.

Instead of the host shelling out for main dishes, appetizers and alcohol, each family unit brought several dishes. When the meal was over — with tons of leftovers ­— we all helped to clean up. And we never bought gifts for the whole clan. Our tradition was to draw names and buy only one gift outside our immediate family. And when Santa visited our house, he brought just one small gift for the kids, usually socks or books.

Candice Cearley

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