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Santa got laid off, and I think I’m OK with that

We have never been in the habit of using credit cards to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. We’ve given more when we had more, and given nothing when we had nothing. As my father said to us during our last Christmas with him, “Your presence is my present.” But most of us know it’s really FUN to give our kids Christmas gifts, and it’s really hard to see just a present or two under the tree.

But the pinch is being felt all around the world this year, and even the North Pole has had to cut back. Malls and other spots where St. Nick usually pops up can’t afford the $125 an hour commanded by the gents with real beards (who knew they made so much?). The Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas–an honest to goodness real union–says bookings are down about half of their usual number this year. Many Santas are commuting long distances to find work. And even when Santa does show up for portrait sessions, many consumers just can’t afford little luxuries like that this holiday season.

Like I said, in my home, we’ve had our ups and downs when it came to gifts. There was a year I gave my husband a new razor and a pair of long underwear; our son got a couple matchbox cars and a new big box of crayons. It’s going to be another one of those years. We’ll be forced to put into practice what we say we really value–time together as a family and celebrating the significance of the religious holiday. Because, in my home as in many others, Santa has been RIFfed this year.

The baby, of course, doesn’t give a hoot about presents. She’ll be delighted by all of the bright paper she can chew and the curling ribbon she’ll try to strangle herself with (see my post about her dangerous obsessions. Thankfully, we had already planned ahead buying a couple things for our son (who turns 12 TODAY), but that book and CD is all he’ll get. And I’m just about finished making homemade gifts for my extended family. It’s a challenge to find things to make that people will use and appreciate, but that’s a post for another day. We won’t be buying gifts for each other this year, nor for my husband’s office mates or for our friends and neighbors. Yet I don’t think the holiday will suffer.

Looking back, no one in my home was disappointed in “The Year of the Razor.”And this year, I don’t think my friends will be offended that they don’t “get” anything. Maybe we all need a lean year to help us remember that it isn’t about the gifts. Maybe we should put the man in red on a long-term leave of absence.


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