My holiday party at work was yesterday evening. It was a low key affair, in the gym. Everyone brought a dessert to share. I got to try wasabi crackers with tabouli. It was hot enough to bring a tear to your eye but really delicious. The conversation was the best part.
One close friend confessed to spending $1500 on immediate family. I almost passed out. When I told her our holiday expenses so far were about $25, it was her turn to gape. (Its actually closer to $150. If you recall we bought a canoe for the family back in late October that was tied into our holiday budget. I did tell her that once I remembered.) What followed was a fascinating conversation on the act of holiday giving.
In the end, we weren't that far apart on our philosophies. My friend had only used cash, it was money that was specifically ear marked for holiday spending and she had not impacted her overall cash flow in any way. She had spent what she could afford to spend. I should also mention that she is a very highly paid computer programmer who moonlights as a fitness instructor, a scrapbooking consultant, a Mary Kay consultant and a trainer at Uno's. We all make choices.
On the food front, let the holiday food prep begin! Tonight we will finalize the holiday menu. Christmas Eve dinner is a quiet affair with just Jim, myself and the kids. My brother, his wife and daughter will stop by for dessert and coffee. Christmas Day is my big gig. We call it an open house. Family and friends come any time that is convenient for them. The hope is that this will lower the stress of a set time. We start the day with brunch type foods and then around 1:30 we change everything over to more substantial, dinner type food.
I'll share our decisions tomorrow morning.