• How I Wrap Gifts, Christmas and Otherwise

    Melanie writes in: Between the wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, tags, and other things, I’ve often spent $20-25 on just wrapping the gifts at Christmastime. This seems silly. How do you wrap presents? I’m sure you’ve got a less expensive way. To me, the purpose of wrapping paper is simply to disguise gifts from the receiver …

  • Children, Christmas, and the Materialism Battle

    Seth Godin pointed me towards this video of children opening Nintendo Wiis on Christmas morning (it’s well worth watching at least the first minute or so of the video): Here’s the original page if you can’t see the embedded video. While I was watching it, I was caught up with two strongly conflicting feelings. At …

  • Merry Christmas from The Simple Dollar

    As you read this, my children are likely passed out on the floor from tearing open presents, emptying stockings on the floor, running around in a Christmas-induced sugar rush, and a big dinner with friends and family. As for me, hopefully I’m taking a big Christmas nap in a comfortable spot somewhere. Hope you have …

  • The Expensive Ups and Downs of Christmas

    Every year, the Christmas season brings forth a wide variety of feelings for me. I’m flooded with memories from my childhood – time spent with relatives that are long since past, opening memorable gifts, and the annual centerpiece of a great Christmas meal. Those memories largely fill me with joy, but with just a hint …

  • Family Traditions: What Children Really Want for Christmas

    While I recuperate, I’ll be sprinkling in a few guest posts from some of my favorite personal finance bloggers. This is a guest post from J.D. Roth, who writes about smart personal finance at Get Rich Slowly. Every year, people lament the commercialization of Christmas, yet few are willing to do anything about it. Christmas …

  • A Long December

    Many of you out there reading this are hurting. The economic news is grim, and even though I believe the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, that doesn’t change the stark reality of things. Most of us have lost a large swath of our retirement savings in the last year. My overall …

  • Eleven Tactics for a Cheaper Christmas

    (Yes, that’s me in the picture.) With the Christmas holidays sneaking up on us, we’re very, very glad we saved ahead for the Christmas season around here. In fact, our Christmas shopping is in full swing and we have several people marked off already. Isn’t that jumping the gun a little? I don’t see it …

  • The Day After: Six Ways to Deal With the Post-Christmas Money Blues – And Plan Ahead for Next Year

    My father likes to joke that the happiest day of the year is December 25, and the saddest is December 26, because that’s when the bills start arriving. While I’d like to chuckle at that joke, a pile of credit card bills isn’t really very funny – in fact, just thinking of it brings back …

  • The Best Christmas Gift of All

    As I sit here surrounded by torn wrapping paper, empty boxes, and a room full of children happily playing with Game Boys and puzzles and Matchbox cars, it occurs to me that this is the first Christmas since I was still in school where I didn’t have an underlying nervous sense of worry about how …

  • Merry Christmas from The Simple Dollar

    Just a quick note to wish you all a merry Christmas! My Christmas has been quite merry so far: a Mexican-themed Christmas celebration (with lots of Corona), an excited wife receiving a Roomba and an Amazon Kindle, a son who can’t stop playing with his new tractor and his massively expanded Lego collection, and a …

  • Christmas, Money, Family, and Love

    I finally fiished my Christmas preparations this morning, wrapping up the final presents and placing them under the tree. The only other things to be done are food preparations and perhaps a stocking stuffer or two. I’m very happy with the Christmas choices I’ve made this year. Some of them were really good ideas that …

  • The “It” Toy from the Perspective of a Parent

    Yesterday, I wrote about the idea of an “it” toy for Christmas, including tips for how to find a hard-to-get toy and how to talk to your child about it if you don’t get them their most desired item. This brought up a bevy of comments criticizing the post. I thought Elizabeth summed it up …

  • Chasing the “It” Toy At Christmastime

    In 1983, when my wife was just a little girl, she wanted a Cabbage Patch Kids doll for Christmas. Her parents were unable to find one, but her grandmother apparently bribed a shelf-stocker at a TG&Y in rural Iowa to grab a couple. In 1988, I desperately wanted the video game Super Mario Bros. 2 …

  • Twelve Great Gifts Under $10 I’d Love To See Under My Tree

    When I started working on this post, I was trying to make a list of Christmas (or other winter holiday) gift ideas under $10 that would be great to give for family gift exchanges, as stocking stuffers, and so on. I easily made a list, but then I realized when I read through it that …

  • The Simple Dollar’s Christmas Charity Drive 2007: L’Arche Tahoma Hope

    Each year at Christmastime, I identify a particular charity that fills an important need in a community. I usually choose one that I have a personal connection to, having visited the facility and/or have had a close friend or family member working there, and the charity must be in line with my personal values of …

  • Toy Catalogs and Children: Are They a Good Match?

    This weekend, I’m visiting my parents, and I’ve seen a small army of nieces and nephews and cousins floating through the house. One of the most popular items sitting around is a toy catalog, where my parents have encouraged the various young folks to put their initials very clearly next to items they want. The …

  • Christmas Is Over – Now Is The Time To Capitalize!

    Now that Christmas has passed, department stores are drastically dropping the price on Christmas decorations and other seasonal materials in order to clear out floor space. As a frugal individual, now is the time to capitalize so you can save big money next year! I’ve prepared a shopping list of items that you can pick …

  • Christmas Morning Reflections

    As I watched a cavalcade of children open up their Christmas gifts, I enjoyed watching the smiles on their faces, but something else troubled me a bit. The children often seemed to covet the most expensive material gifts, while some of the nicer and more thoughtful ones were forgotten in the gift grab. This left …

  • Post-Christmas Thank You Notes: How To Have Good Manners and Look Creative With Little Expense

    My family is starting a tradition of writing thank you notes for all gifts received. We’ve received thank you notes from others after giving gifts and we’ve really appreciated the level of courteousness that these notes have represented and has increased our respect for the note-sender. It’s simply a courteous thing to do, and it’s …