Author Topic: Antimustachian Christmas  (Read 12478 times)

Ty Webb

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Antimustachian Christmas
« on: December 26, 2012, 10:39:41 AM »
I am having trouble relating to some of my friends as we go on divergent paths as far as personal finance. I got my wife a sweater for Christmas and a friend of mine got his wife a brand new Lexus, complete with red bow on top!

amyable

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2012, 10:56:16 AM »
Wow--I can't believe someone would actually buy a car as a Christmas present.  I have a few coworkers who are flashing new diamonds on facebook, but most of my family and friends are pretty frugal.  My most expensive gift, by far, was a North Face down vest from my mom.

tmac

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2012, 11:50:38 AM »
Many of my friends post pictures of their Christmas trees online, complete with massive piles of presents. One close friend had a pile that was close the the size of the tree itself, for just three people. And we've just recently had conversations about how her husband might be laid off and they'll probably lose the house if he does. Our pile, for five people, was about one-quarter the size.

It makes me glad our little kids haven't seen other families' gift piles so they can't compare and wonder why they get so little. And yet, they were absolutely satisfied on Christmas morning. The biggest hit for the kids was a set of AirZookas (http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/60b6/). We all had a blast (literally). The dogs didn't enjoy it as much. :)

jp

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2012, 11:52:22 AM »
We "opted out" of the gift exchange this year at the family christmas (except for kids).  I was given a stern lecture by my sister who informed me that I need to learn about moderation (as in, buy useless crap that no one wants or needs more frequently to arrive at a moderate level).  The gifts are not extravagant in my family, but they are probably far more useless. 

jp

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2012, 11:57:19 AM »
It makes me glad our little kids haven't seen other families' gift piles so they can't compare and wonder why they get so little. And yet, they were absolutely satisfied on Christmas morning. The biggest hit for the kids was a set of AirZookas (http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/60b6/). We all had a blast (literally). The dogs didn't enjoy it as much. :)

Seconded.  I have tried to manage my kids' expectations since birth.  They don't have toy-itis, and they do not expect a mountain of toys for Christmas.  My extended family finds this extremely distressing however and they insist I am being cruel and ruining Christmas by only buying 1 present per kid and 1 shared present.  Poor sad rich kid only getting a few gifts to add to the giant toy pile they already have, how depressing.  I just tell them that the kids don't have the expectation so there is no disappointment... but they refuse to believe me and insist upon showering them with hundreds of dollars of crap they don't need or desire every year.

Blackbomber

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2012, 11:57:48 AM »
...got his wife a brand new Lexus, complete with red bow on top!
I saw that commercial. Proof positive that advertising does indeed work.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2012, 12:11:36 PM »
I grew up not in wealth, but around it, and has completely desensitized me to luxury cars, to the point where I have to remind myself that a porsche isn't in everybody's budget. In my mind, the only badass thing to drive is either a $4,000 beater, or a real ($150k+) luxury car- nothing in between. Yeah, I'm weird.

Unless it's an engagement ring, posting diamonds online is a little cheesy.

Back to the subject, I am glad to report that my family, who isn't Mustachian by any stretch of the imagination, is pretty good at giving only things I have a real use for.



kkbmustang

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2012, 02:33:36 PM »
I am pleased to report that I got the Hubs a pound of Starbucks coffee and he got me a 4 pack of Burts Bees chapstick and a purse-sized container of hand lotion.

We downsized the kids' Christmas and there were no tears or cries of disappointment Christmas morning. The Hubs' parents did half of the Christmas budget on stuff they wanted and half in their college fund. My parents, per usual, spent a ton on stuff for them. It's embarrassing to total up the value of the stuff my kids received Christmas morning, but at least our spend was about 1/3 of what it has been in prior years. And they didn't notice a difference. We just managed their expectations and hammered home that little kid toys are bigger in size and smaller in dollars and big kid gifts are smaller in size and higher in dollars.

strider3700

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2012, 03:20:14 PM »
My wife made the kids sock horses,   I cut some standard 2x2,2x4, 2x6 and a dowel into blocks for the kids to build with,  we also got them some books, a couple of "regular" toys and an educational robot toy.     the sock horses are by far the most popular.   We had to use the truck to bring everything home from grandma's but that was due to the bulk not really the amount or price of things.  Her most popular gift by far was two boxes of dress up costumes from the thrift store.  $30 for close to a dozen costumes.  We've had 3 weddings and a couple of dinosaur attacks so far today. 

Jamesqf

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2012, 03:36:17 PM »
My parents, per usual, spent a ton on stuff for them. It's embarrassing to total up the value of the stuff my kids received Christmas morning...

Reminds me of the neighbors' grandkids.  Lots of divorces &c so several sets of parents and (step)grandparents competing for affection.  Pile of loot about half the size of the tree, and the kids ignored the toys and spent all afternoon playing with the boxes & wrapping paper :-)

TLV

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2012, 03:51:08 PM »
Quote
One close friend had a pile that was close the the size of the tree itself
Quote
Pile of loot about half the size of the tree

Our pile was significantly larger than the tree, but the tree was only 12" tall and fit on a bookshelf, out of toddler's reach.

Russ

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2012, 05:00:48 PM »
I am glad to report that my family, who isn't Mustachian by any stretch of the imagination, is pretty good at giving only things I have a real use for.

+1
My family is pretty big on giving "things", but they must have finally figured me out this year. Mostly food and bicycle consumables, some "things" but considerably less than everyone else, and nothing particularly extravagant or useless.

kkbmustang

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2012, 08:51:37 PM »
Mostly food and bicycle consumables...

My parents find the Hubs difficult to buy for. This year it was gift cards to places he likes to eat (he will use those for lunches out at work since it's not in the budget and I pack his lunch), Lowe's gift cards and some bicycle stuff. He was pretty pleased with that.

Rich M

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2012, 09:27:12 PM »
Diamonds might be rivals to luxury cars for gifts.  But probably the people who get em, sadly get both.

gooki

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2012, 02:52:54 AM »
We've had 3 weddings and a couple of dinosaur attacks so far today.

Love it.

jdoolin

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2012, 07:41:33 AM »
I think my wife and I might be the only people on our FB friends list that didn't post photos of some kind of mobile device (phone, tablet, etc).  There was one photo of an iPad3, iPad mini and an iPhone 5 all from the same person.

And I'm the techie among us.  I guess my 2 year old iPhone 4 that was given to me by my former boss (who got a 4S for Christmas a month previously) is enough for me.

Our first Mustachian Christmas was great.  My wife and I got each other a few things, either things we need or things we don't buy for ourselves any more (like a 4 pack of Chimay Blue trappist ale).  We got fewer things for my daughter as well.  Unfortunately, despite our message to family to not get her as much stuff, she got a ridiculous amount of stuff.  But what's her favorite item so far?  The one thing she ALWAYS has out?

The dry erase board.

Thanks for that idea MMM.  :-)

maryofdoom

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2012, 07:45:51 AM »
I convinced my husband to only do stockings for one another this year. He likes to go overboard and saying, "Let's do a bunch of little things instead" worked out really well.

Now, if I could only convince his family of the rightness of a single awesome present...I appreciate that they thought of us, but I really don't need two hoodies that don't even fit me and pink polar-fleece sheets for a full-size bed.

totoro

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2012, 08:45:29 AM »
My wife made the kids sock horses,   I cut some standard 2x2,2x4, 2x6 and a dowel into blocks for the kids to build with,  we also got them some books, a couple of "regular" toys and an educational robot toy.     the sock horses are by far the most popular.   We had to use the truck to bring everything home from grandma's but that was due to the bulk not really the amount or price of things.  Her most popular gift by far was two boxes of dress up costumes from the thrift store.  $30 for close to a dozen costumes.  We've had 3 weddings and a couple of dinosaur attacks so far today.
[/quote/]

I love the boxes of costumes idea.  I did a "tickle trunk" for my kids full of second-hand costumes when they were little and it was so popular - I miss those days.

totoro

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2012, 08:52:54 AM »
I love Christmas.  I spent quite a bit on food for a huge family dinner and it was well worth it for me and for my younger son who loves to cook and entertain.   The leftovers are ridiculous and ridiculously good :).

My son's favorite gift came from a former pro-sports player who is mentoring him.  It was a rugby bag full of his old rugby gear - including some gear from his world championship game. 

mlipps

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2012, 09:15:14 AM »
Christmas with our families is a work in progress. Fiance asks his parents every year not to get him anything, but they're persistent. They try to make the gifts "useful", but that only works so well when you don't know exactly what a person already has. We asked them for a lantern for camping; I guess I thought it was implied that the propane ones are more useful. We got two, both battery operated AND a splashproof, battery powered iPod dock. Ugh. Other doozies include a weird jewelry organizer from my mom? and a grooming set for our dog from his mom (who doesn't own dogs & knows nothing about them).

Winning present was a membership to the Field Museum from my parents. I mentioned it to his mom and she thought it was a fantastic idea, so maybe next year we'll have more luck w/that.

Jack

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2012, 10:12:25 AM »
Christmas with our families is a work in progress. Fiance asks his parents every year not to get him anything, but they're persistent. They try to make the gifts "useful", but that only works so well when you don't know exactly what a person already has.

I had the same issue. My in-laws got my wife and I the following:

- a Sharper Image "wave oven" (which apparently cooks using infrared and convection) which seems too gimmicky, bulky and hard to clean to be useful

- a "bang-o" as-seen-on-TV haircutting aid, "because my wife cuts my hair," apparently apparently not realizing that if her current tools weren't sufficient then I wouldn't have her do it.

My parents did better; they got socks for me and a hat/scarf set for my wife.

Compounding the problem, my in-laws spent the most, but are least able to afford it.

Richard3

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #21 on: December 27, 2012, 11:28:25 AM »
I hope I got no presents because I gave none (I'm living in a different continent from most people I know and have been gradually winding down presents for the last decade). I suspect my brother sent me some Pineapple chunks (an NZ sweet I am fond of and can't find elsewhere) and a friend might have sent me something in the <20 range.

I'll give / send people gifts in the next couple months but on my terms - when I find something good at a reasonable price, not on silly consumerism festival terms.

Mannerheim

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #22 on: December 28, 2012, 10:14:54 AM »
My observations of my young nephews for the last couple Christmases absolutely confirm what others have said: there is no point in spending more than $5 on a gift for a little kid, since that amount will get you any number of things they will be utterly delighted with. This year they were so happy with their $4 Star Wars dart guns (purchased in the checkout aisle on a whim) they barely even wanted to open their other presents. Going forward my policy is to get them some nominal gift that they can play with rambunctiously, and make a larger donation to their Coverdell ESA accounts.

(note: don't get a small child a kazoo, harmonica, handbell, or other noisemaker unless we're talking about your enemy's children)

My parents always spend a fortune on my brothers and I (all of us are grown up with jobs of our own), I think next year we need to have a serious talk about it since we all agree it's hard to even think of stuff we want, and I'd much rather they held on to the money for retirement. Something like the Want, Need, Wear, Read system might work well for a simplified Christmas.

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2012, 01:10:33 AM »
We live in a town where you can watch the ferries come in, so here's what my dad made for my 2 year old son:



Sorry this picture is blurry and HUGE. Does anyone know how to mod the size in the forums?

We used to be a pretty commercial Christmas family. Now we are going way more homemade and it's very rewarding.

This year we did less (financially) than ever and had more fun than ever. I don't think it's coincidence.

Crash87

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2012, 09:04:50 AM »
Can't resist this topic.

I have a friend who received roughly $2,500 in gifts from his parents. He has two other brothers, so they spent an estimated $7,500 on gifts for the kids plus whatever the value of mom and dad's gifts to each other were!

FI@2022Jem

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2012, 12:43:44 PM »
Erica- That ferry is so awesome!  I grew up riding the ferries (WA state) all the time to visit my grandmother/family (Plus, I just love wooden toys).  I am sure your children (and their children) will treasure it, and it will look beautiful on a shelf when they outgrow it!
P.s. I also recently started following your blog.  It is great!
Best, Jennie

kkbmustang

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2012, 07:15:50 PM »
Can't resist this topic.

I have a friend who received roughly $2,500 in gifts from his parents. He has two other brothers, so they spent an estimated $7,500 on gifts for the kids plus whatever the value of mom and dad's gifts to each other were!

Wow. Just wow.

ruthiegirl

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2013, 12:29:57 PM »
I am having trouble relating to some of my friends as we go on divergent paths as far as personal finance. I got my wife a sweater for Christmas and a friend of mine got his wife a brand new Lexus, complete with red bow on top!

People have all kinds of expectations for gifts.  Personally, I would be pissed if my husband spent a lot on a gift for me when we have an agreement to save at the Badass level. 

So, I think your gift of a sweater is lovely.  And a Lexus is just overkill.  Serious overkill.

keith

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #28 on: January 02, 2013, 02:45:28 AM »
a friend of mine got his wife a brand new Lexus, complete with red bow on top!

I always want to throw up a little when I see a lexus ad around the holidays with the red bow.

I can top this however. When I was a teenager, a friend's parents got themselves MATCHING Lexus RX-300's for christmas one year. Sort of a "his" and "hers" type thing. Complete with red bows of course.

As far as I knew they weren't rich, so it was obviously financed.

bo_knows

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #29 on: January 02, 2013, 06:29:50 AM »
This is the first year that we ever scaled back on Christmas as well.  With a 9-month-old, who probably likes the boxes more than the toys themselves, and the fact that both of my parents AND my brother are in trouble financially, we floated the idea of no presents (except for the little one if they REALLY wanted to).  My Dad, who would rather get a 2nd mortgage to pay for presents than forgo christmas, actually agreed... reluctantly.

My wife and I stuck to "stockings" for each other, so that we didn't spend too much.  It was great and was a lot less stress.   My inlaws took my "the boy likes boxes more than presents" idea to heart, and made an "activity box" that was a giant box, with some portholes cut in it, with pictures of family securely taped to it, different color shapes taped to it, and even a small mirror securely fastened on the inside.  Our son LOVES it.

It was actually funny... my inlaws are pretty frugal people, and when we told them that we were doing no presents for Christmas with my family to make things less stressful, they lamented "Is that deal on the table for us?".  Too bad we had already gone in with my wifes brother and wife on getting them a lower-end digital camera to replace theirs that was literally falling apart.

Maybe next year will be completely present-free.

galaxie

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #30 on: January 02, 2013, 07:31:18 AM »
My family gave me mostly bike parts (yes!! fenders!! and kinetic-powered lights!).  I got my man a wooly bike shirt I found on sale, and we made gifts for my dad & one brother.  We bought some things for other family members (mostly board games) but overall I think we did pretty well.  My family isn't super spendy.

Forcus

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #31 on: January 02, 2013, 10:46:01 AM »
I had a shock about 10 years ago when I met my future wife. Her family rarely gives new stuff, it's all flea market and auction stuff picked up through the year. But its tailored to each person's tastes (which can be dangerous if you mention you liked a snow globe - they'll snatch up every cheap snow globe they see and you'll end up with 20 of them). Anyways they spend a lot less on presents but they are more special and thoughtful. I get a fair amount of stuff (still) from family but the two best things I got this year were a little plastic airplane from the 60's or 70's that I think Delta gave out to kids on plane trips, and a book from the 40's on airliners. Both may have cost a couple bucks but I have everything I need and this stuff you can't just go to the store for.

BlueMR2

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Re: Antimustachian Christmas
« Reply #32 on: January 02, 2013, 11:00:11 AM »
My parents (who are retired, but both working part-time to help make ends meet) went way overboard and dumped all kinds of gifts on us this year...

The wife and I just traded pre-arranged items.  I replaced her electric grill that had burned up (power plug melted, melted one of our outlets too, decided to replace instead of attempting to repair it in case it had other internal faults) and got her a USA wall map.  She got me a replacement shift boot for my car (the original 22 year old one had big holes in it, I was getting worried about dropping stuff into the shift linkage) and a photo collage she made of a racetrack that I used to race at.