A Christmas List: Before and After Financial Armageddon

Each year, our families have a cyclical Christmas tradition. On Veteran’s Day weekend, everyone makes a list of five to ten things that they want for Christmas that year with the majority of the items less than $20. It’s not so much a list of things that we expect to get for Christmas, but a list of ideas for people who are scrambling for ideas. These lists are then passed around to everyone else – people cross off items if they plan get them, and so forth, so that by the end of the weekend, everyone has their Christmas shopping lists ready (or close to it).

Last year, my son had just been born and I was facing an enormous mountain of debt. Yet I still didn’t “get” it, and thus here was my Christmas list.

The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
A backup pitching wedge
The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract

Just one year later, a lot of things have clicked for me, and as I began to think of things I wanted, I saw how much these changes had affected my world view. To wit, here’s my wish list for this year’s Christmas:

2007 Moleskine large desk diary
Leatherman 78105003K
The WSJ Complete Personal Financial Guidebook
Subscription to Consumer Reports
The Intelligent Investor

Needless to say, I received more than a few odd looks when this list began to make the rounds.

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  1. Brian says:

    This is an old post, but so what.

    My other bugged me in March (MARCH!) about things I might need for an apartment when I move back to the U.S. and go to grad school (which will happen in August). Her rationale is that one of the big department stores in our area often has big sales in the summer during the slack sales period. Additionally, most families travel during the summer (and my family stops at outlet malls and used book stores on such trips) so maybe moving the tradition to Memorial Day would be better (as my mother says some of the best sales are July 4th). I’ll be recommending it to my family for next year (I already have tons of presents for them for this year).

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