Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Frugal Retiree Looks Back on Christmas

It's eighty degrees here in Dallas, and I look out my window at five, count them five, dogs playing in the back yard.  As always at this time of year, it's time for post Christmas thoughts and musings, as well as time to look into the New Year:

  • Sometime mid-December, I realized that my son had only carried half of the Christmas decorations upstairs-and that I was fine with that.  While I wish that we had had at least one of the nativities out for display, there was much I did not miss-especially as we were not there for Christmas Day.
  • As we split our holidays, I realize that the traditions we keep are the important ones. Midnight mass. Cookie making and Christmas breakfast of scrambeled eggs and cookies. A second holiday get together when I return to Colorado where we have a belated "Christmas" on New Year's Day.  And small parties with handmade gifts as we have little get togethers among all my "groups". Going to see the lights.

  • Every year, as I leave my Colorado family (and live in sister), I feel a twinge as I travel to my daughter's home. When I first moved, I saw myself as trading off-one year Thanksgiving there and Christmas here, and rinse and repeat or reverse. Unfortunately, my daugther works both the day before and the day after Christmas (it's required). So until she leaves the restaurant business, this works for us. For now.

  • With the exception of my son (who is a college student with a thousand dollar book requirement for the new semester), all the immediate family gifts this year were for things or experiences-nary a gift card among said gifts.  While I am not opposed to said gift cards (obviously the son in question above needs all the Amazon gift cards he can get his hands on), I like it when I can give someone an actual gift or experience that I know will be appreciated and used.
  • For the past couple of years, instead of traveling to a large (fourteen plus people) Christmas dinner, we have been staying in our small family groups. In our case that means myself, my son, my daughter and her husband (and all our canine children) at this particular juncture. While Imiss being able to see every single person during my two week foray, I am finding I really appreciate the smaller, scaled down Christmas. Especially the ability to stay in my PJs and not leave the house unless the mood strikes. And I am reminded that all the really good cooks in my family are guys-including my son in law who cooked Christmas dinner.

  • I love that my children suggested a gift limit and pretty much stuck to the "$50 with a max of $75" gift limit that was their idea (including stocking stuffers), and that I mainly did as well. Yes, I am the parental unit, but my kids get upset if I spend more than they do at the holidays. And since they are both full time grad students with internships, I help them through the year when I can.
  • My daugter has seemingly decided that every year should be a new hobby. Last year, she got me a complete artists box. This year, two large boxes of theraputic quailty essential oils, a storage box and more tell me that I'll be making body products, massage oils and more this year.
  • And last but not least, I have spent an excessive amount of time, lazing and sleeping (sometimes not getting up until ten).  I'll be more than ready to head back to a fuller schedule here soon, but meanwhile I'm enjoying putting my feet up, doing some extra reading, knitting, catching up on TV and yes, taking time to scan or take pictures of pictures and memorabilia for genealogy research.

Meanwhile, Merry Christmas to all. and yes, I can still say that because, after all it's only the 4th day of Christmas. So keep up that celebrating, everyone!!


  1. Your holiday sounds lovely. The dinner looks yummy.

    I like a smaller scaled down Christmas too as I like to stay in my pjs on Christmas Day.

    Safe journey back to your home and have a Happy New Year in 2017!

  2. Season's greetings, Barb. Your Christmas sounds like a good one. Family, rest & relaxation, good food. What could be better than that? I like a celebration in the dark, cold winter. A week after the winter solstice, I can see that the daylight is lasting just a little longer at the end of the day. I'm basking in the afterglow of good times with family. The youngest granddaughter left with instructions to put the gingerbread in a basket for safekeeping, until her return, when she could eat it. And today, I'll join my sister-friend to share a pot of turkey soup and walk in the winter sunshine. Life is good.

  3. Sounds like my kind of Christmas :)

  4. I am loving a scaled down Christmas. Our tree fell over on Christmas Eve- we had such a laugh. Good thing we had decided to "not really decorate" this year!

  5. We stuck with just our own family this year for our Christmas day celebration. Mind you a snow storm that dumped 20+ cm of snow with a howling wind helped us to make up our minds.

    God bless.


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