David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter, was on TV the other day and he noted that we were coming up on what would be the "fifth hard Christmas since 2007."
And I thought to myself, you know, he's right. Nothing outside our parents' (or grandparents') experience of the Great Depression compares. Things have been lean around Travener's household so long that it's hard to recall flusher times, when there were lots of presents under the tree for the kids, and we didn't much care what the tree or Christmas turkey cost.
Last year was so gloomy that we didn't even buy a tree.
Despite a situation that's basically unchanged this year, I decided "no more austerity Christmas." We're going to celebrate like it's the '90s. We'll buy a tree -- a big damn tree. I'm going to get the kids decent presents this year and figure out how to pay for them later.
I hope you all have a good holiday season. Even if you're feeling an economic pinch, try to take part in the celebratory feel of the season. Get a new ornament for the tree or some fancy candles for the menorah. Spike the egg nog with a better class of rum. if you can't afford to do even that, do something special that's cost-free: walk around the neighborhood and look at the lights or take in a concert at the local school.
Let's make the holidays a time of cheer again this year, regardless of the gloom around us.