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My Married Life: The Christmukkah Conundrum

Recently on the boards, the convo was all about holiday gift giving. More than one Nestie was already done with her shopping! That pretty much gave me a heart attack, as I had yet to give it a single thought. For the past few years, Jack and I have pretty much opted out of Christmas when it comes to extended family. They gave us a pass because they all understood: When you buy a 110-year-old house that needs a massive renovation, there is just no such thing as extra money.

It was really along the lines of what I'm used to. I come from a pretty weird family that isn’t really into holidays. No one, and I mean no one (even including my sweet, 90-year-old grandmother) gives me a Christmas gift. Ever. So I had little guilt about opting not to send them anything. Some of my family are Jewish, some are Buddhist, but most are agnostic or atheist. Regardless, all seem apathetic when it comes to holiday madness.

But Jack's family is different. They all send us stuff. They are Christmas-crazed. For a while, I'll admit -- it was all horrible stuff. They'd spend like $20 but pick out things like clothing, with very scary (even insulting) results. But it was extremely sweet. It also overwhelmed me because reciprocating was daunting, considering the sheer volume of nieces and nephews. By now, we've all sort of trained each other to give things like gift cards. Sure, it shows less imagination, but in my experience, the only one benefiting from people having used their imagination was the local Goodwill where I promptly deposited their gifts.

Anyway, this year, I feel like it's only right that I (we) get back on the proverbial horse. So as I try to create a budget, my question is, do you guys have set amounts that you spend on everyone? How much?

-- Holly

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