The big day is almost here, and I am almost done shopping. Actually this year has been easier than most. Fortunately the family is pretty good at exchanging lists these days, so there is less standing in front of something thinking "will he dig this as much as I would?". Actually, it is largely a gift certificate Christmas this year. As long as you pick the right store (and we had hints) they're guaranteed to get something they like. On the flip side, they need to go out and get it themselves. I read this week that $8 billion worth of G.C.s were not redeemed last year. $8,000,000,000! Pretty good financial cushion for businesses.
The wife and I set a low budget for each other this year, so that did make shopping a little more challenging. If I had any artistic talent I might have pulled out the Elmers, macaroni and gold paint.
One of my favorite Christmas memories was during another lean Christmas. My friend Mike and I had an apartment together, and we were both working for McDonald's. We were probably both making less than $4 an hour since we started at minimum wage of $3.35. Not sure how we made it, but I do remember lots of Top Ramen.
A day or so before Christmas we were both working an evening shift. When we came home there was a decorated Christmas tree in our apartment. Our girlfriends at the time had sweet-talked a guy at one of the tree lots into a free or very cheap tree. They brought it over and set it up with some ornaments borrowed from their family trees. It was a wonderful surprise and one of the best gifts I've ever received.