I remember that when I turned 12 years old, my mother announced that we would be celebrating a "grown-up Christmas" from now on. The big Christmas Eve feast was replaced with hors d'oeuvres, the cookies for Santa were forgotten, and other "more mature" modifications were made.
That was the first big change in our holiday tradition, and I feel very fortunate that all these years my parents and siblings have provided each other with great holidays, with presents pouring out from under the tree. Now I am older, have a niece, and recognize that times are financially tough for everyone. It's time for another change.
It's no secret our economy is in a downward spiral and our nation is in a recession, but what does that mean for the holidays? Like many other families, mine has taken the necessary steps to save money during the holiday season. Instead of buying for everyone, we each picked one name out of a hat and agreed to spend $75 on that one person. We are also doing a $25 Yankee swap and, of course, everyone has to buy gifts for our 16-month-old niece!
Through all the changes in our family's holidays, we have kept one tradition: On Christmas Eve everyone opens one present, and it's always a new pair of pajamas.
In these difficult financial times, what are you and your family doing differently, if anything, for the holidays?