I enjoyed some of the exchanges we had on Thanksgiving, I hope everyone had a great day, with or without political banter. My day turned out very nice, I'm still full! As the party was winding down, those of us that will be together at Christmas drew names for a 'grab bag.' In our family it's simple now, as the 'children' graduate high school, they join in to the grab bag. Before that they get gifts from everyone. Last one graduated in June! Yeehaw! My brother and his wife have done an 'Open House' on Christmas Eve since they got married. I always had Christmas at my home, so going out really didn't work well. So I had my parents, my children, and one of my friends, her husband, and their two children over for the past 20 some years. I had that menu down cold, heck I've even bought some of the things I thought I'd need. The years have brought change, my folks have both died within the last 5 years. My friend's daughters have married and have kids now, so they are now doing Christmas Eve with the grandkids, though we all get together at midnight Mass and on the 26th. My own kids have boyfriend, girlfriends and don't necessarily wish to be 'home' for the entire evening, especially as I start making the appetizers for the next day! So with my nephew undergoing radiation, a double dose on the morning of Christmas Eve, my brother and SIL were disappointed that they were going to have to cancel what's become a big tradition for them. Somehow last night my mouth opened and said, "Hey I can help with that, I'm off on the 19th, you can let me get things started, when you get back from Rochester, take over." I don't know who was more shocked, me or them? They were relieved though, I think they've had way too many changes this year. So there is one big change for my Christmas this year. I think that my kids were sort of relieved, they were like, "We'll help, then go out and meet you at church. It'll be great!" My niece was thrilled, as all of her friends stop by then. This is the first year I've really cut back on gifts in a significant way. It's a burden relieved. I'm already calmer than usual on the day after Thanksgiving. My shopping, of which there wasn't any outside of my laptop is done. Total for 3 kids and grab bag, just over $400. That's not bad, though I wish it were less. It's taken a few years to realize that the kids can and do buy what they want, one gift for each that they might not want to put the cash out for was good. They are happy that I'm less stressed. I'm finding that I'd like to simplify in other ways, so I have more time for others while becoming less intense on myself. Anyone else finding the years, economy hitting them like this at all?