latkeMy latest column for Tablet is here.

I was most interested in the stat projecting that the amount the average family will spend on “winter holiday gifts” in 2009 is projected to be HALF of what was spent in 2007. (Also interesting: That they don’t even GIVE presents in Israel, and Hanukah isn’t an official state holiday.) I do think we’re overspending — particularly since my kids’ grandparents are generous gifters and I don’t feel comfortable demanding that they dial it down. (I’ve made other gifting edicts: no giant floor-space-eating items, for instance, but I quail at saying “spend less.” Or, um, “spend less and can we have that money for their college funds.”)

This year we got the girls the DVD of a Harry Potter movie and the board game Qwerkle. Josie will also be getting the books Powerless by Matthew Cody and The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson, and a pair of sparkly navy-blue maryjanes from Lands End. Maxie will be getting Play-Doh and Play-Doh tools (recommended by her teacher for her OT issues), and foam gliders and pop beads. Their grandfather got them Beatles Rock Band; their Bubbe is taking them to see the opera Hansel and Gretel (I do love experiential presents!); their grandma sent clothes and gelt. Lovely cousins and aunts and uncles got them gifts too. It does feel like we’re competing with Christmas, but it’s so hard not to.

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