Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dear friends and family

Cliff and I had the usual yearly discussion and decided we will not be sending Christmas cards or giving Christmas gifts this year.  We're getting ready for retirement, and now is as good a time as any to get realistic.  We've agreed it's just too hard to figure out what to give grandchildren once they get past four years old, unless you give them money; and in order for the money to do them any good, it would need to be a substantial amount.    
We're not trying to be Scrooges or Grinches here, we're just doing what seems sensible to us.  
We might, in the future, do a name-drawing gift exchange if the family wants to do it; that would be affordable for all, even with a $50 or so limit.  
As for the Christmas cards, I do love getting them, especially the ones with letters and notes enclosed.  However, with the price of stamps, it turns into a fairly expensive proposition. 
When we had this discussion, Cliff said, "So you're not getting anything for me and I'm not getting anything for you, right?"  
"Of course not," I answered.  "I already got my gift:  the Nook."  
For those who watched the last episode of Mike and Molly, Cliff is exactly like Mike when it comes to gifting.  He wants to get something great, but never knows what to get; any hints go right over his head.  I'm fine with us getting ourselves what we want.  We don't do gifts on birthdays or Valentine's Day either, although I use those occasions as an excuse to eat out.  So, we're not the last of the great romantics.  
I guess in this way we're a perfect match.  It's worked out for forty-four years, so far.
I did send something to City Union Mission; their donations are down, due to the economy.  That's the one-and-only Christmas gift Cliff and I are giving this year, and I hope to continue that, even if it's a lesser amount after he retires; every little bit helps.  Cliff always slips something into the Salvation Army kettles.  
You can check out many charities with Charity Navigator, although many religious organizations aren't listed there, due to the fact that they are exempt under the Internal Revenue Code from filing Form 990.  I don't like this, but that's how it is; I believe every charity should be accountable.  Salvation Army is not listed on Charity Navigator; City Union Mission is.  That's how I made my choice on which one to gift.    
Merry Christmas to all; may you make memories that will last throughout your lives.  I certainly enjoy my Christmas memories.


  1. I mostly buy presents for my kid,I only have one and she deserves it. I stopped buying stuff for adults long time ago. We usually buy a present for my Mom together with my sister. When I go to a relative's birthday,I usually bring money. They bring it back to me on my birthday, so it all evens out.
    You can send free electronic cards for people with email. They are usually funny or animated with music and you can personalize them all you want.

  2. I'm not giving very much but make most of my gifts. I just can't give up giving something. Christmas is changing from what it used to be but still having the family together is the best gift of Christmas to me.

  3. Anonymous11:12 AM

    Hi Donna, totally off the subject. What kind of good warm boots did you get last year? I'm looking for some. Thanks, Karen

  4. Karen, they are Muck Boots.

  5. Anonymous12:09 PM


  6. We are giving fewer and fewer gifts these days--mainly just to immediate family. My husband and I generally don't get gifts for each other but this year I got him a mini-DVD player for his upcoming chemo treatments. (they last a couple of hours and he isn't a reader) It is really hard to figure out what to buy for anyone other than little kids!

  7. Your plans sound great, Donna. Good for you. Do what you want/have to do and enjoy what you can, for sure.

    Merry Christmas.

    Enjoy the weather and sunrises and sunsets and that Nook. May you make--and keep making--great memories.

  8. Donna, I think you and Cliff made a difficult but wise decision. If you're going to give gifts, it is probably more benificial to donate something to reputable charity organizations. I love the old-fashioned idea of sending Christmas cards, but it is outrageously expensive and time-consuming. I receive a lot of ecards, which is nice, but they seem very impersonal.

  9. Lindie4:32 PM

    My income did a sharp nose dive 3 years ago and I haven't been getting presents for any but the youngest grandchildren.(4) They have so many toys so I buy them each a book. We are all big book readers in my family. I have given small money gifts to the older grandchildren (5) who are in college. And I am buying myself a Nook this year. And I haven't sent out Christmas cards for the past 2 years. But that's just because my life is too boring for a Christmas letter!

  10. Wise decision. I was one who sent Christmas cards to everyone I knew and enjoyed it but a few years ago it got to be too much so I stopped. The gifts get to be an endless circle. Someone give you something and then you feel guilty and run out to get something for them. I'm getting better on that too. We do still give gift cards or money to kids and grandkids but I can see that stopping too in the near future.

  11. Good for you, Donna! I just got done watching Suze Orman and she always says, the best gift is financial freedom. Sounds like you and Cliff are on the right track.

  12. They should change the rules of Christmas. Instead of giving things to friends who already have to much stuff as it is, we should all just give to our local charities. That would be in the true spirit of Christmas, don'cha think? I do believe that you're onto something there. Thank you so much for the inspiration!

    Happy Christmas, every one!

    Tom Degan


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