To spend as much as you can humanly accumulate on gift for folks you know, but probably won't reciprocate, and then spend the rest of the next year paying it all off so you can repeat it all over again.
Isn't Christmas wonderful?
Let's put things into perspective here:
You go out, buy a couple of things for the kids. Then, you check to make sure that the gifts are going to be percieved by the kids as being of equal value. If not, then you struggle to figure out how to balance the scales. Maybe a knit sweater for the kid with the semi-laptop that-only-does-math-problems-but-looks-cool toy will lose some ground, and the kid with the Legos(tm) won't feel too snubbed.
Yeah. Kids and clothes. There's another Christmas gift BOMB.
Kids look for the toys and games. They will blow right past any and all clothes to fawn and drool over the newest toy that they've gotten, even if it's something they've never asked for before.
Because it's a TOY.
Just like they'll pretty much ignore any and all clothing. It's like asking them to read the card that comes with the gift. In their mind, the gift says it all, not the sappy words and sayings on the card.
Big present that was high up on their wish list? LOVE.
Socks and underwear (that they need!)? You're getting ready to deport them to some third world country.
How about family?
Yeah, we buy for my folks, her folks, her sister, and my brother.
However, I can't recall the last time her sister or my brother ever returned the favor.
But we still get them gifts, because we're the eternal (sucker) optimist.
That, and it keeps them quiet for another year!
Anyway, happy holidays. I'm sure that I'll rant and complain more as the time gets closer.