The Tipping List
Be Merry, Be Relaxed, Be CHEAP
Keep your costs and your stress down this year!
You may find yourself waking from that fat, sassy post-Thanksgiving 2008 haze with the crushing realization that you have but a couple of weeks to decorate your home, send out cards and purchase gifts for everyone from your mother-in-law to the mailman. But RELAX, grasshopper, and remember that this is also the year of the Really (Really) Bad Economy. The tarnished silver lining to the falling Dow is the undeniable reality that LESS has actually, finally, blessedly become MORE. Saving money has become the new “in”, and with that change comes its lesser-known but more valuable side-effect of stress reduction.
How so? Let’s see:
1. You are justified in giving fewer gifts and/or collaborating with others so that the fewer gifts become magically bigger.
2. You can order the cheaper photo cards, and no one will care. Or you can opt not to DO cards this year, like (fill in friend’s name) did last year, and that’s why you didn’t get a card from her (or so you think … ).
3. You can slap a wreath on the front door, put up a tree and call it done. (I’ve tried to skate on the tree thing before, and it doesn’t feel like Christmas without one. Sorry.)
4. You can use charm and, if necessary, your children’s cuteness to wrangle invitations to others’ food-laden festivities.
5. The threat of “Santa is watching” costs nothing, yet proves remarkably effective in fending off 3-year-old tantrums.
And the fact remains that sometimes the best gift you can give your family is a mother/wife/human being who does not feel like George Bailey in the bridge scene in It’s a Wonderful Life (plot spoiler: he almost jumps!).
In the end, it’s not worth it if your card has an “actual photo” attached, or if your house is a shining beacon of global warming against the winter sky. Sanity must be preserved above all else – and with the change you’ll have to spare, you should be able to afford a martini to celebrate the season!
Candace Cavanaugh Buehner lives and works outside of Detroit MI, where most of her time is spent wondering why her two young sons find Scooby Doo so alluring.