Sunday, December 21, 2014

Under the Christmas Tree

     If a blog is a present, then here is what's under the Baby Boomer Christmas tree this year . . .

     Meryl Baer of Six Decades and Counting reminds us that this is the season for catching up with friends and family. She notes that many folks carry on a tradition of writing a holiday letter, letting everyone know what was going on with their family over the past year. (My own B writes a Christmas letter, and always has. I've pointed out to her that she wouldn't have to do that if she just got on Facebook, but she's set in her ways.)

     Anyway, Meryl reveals that she never adopted the custom -- until this year. I don't want to give anything away -- you should go read My First Ever Holiday Letter yourself -- but let me just say that while she and her family are doing just fine, they sure did have a lot of accidents and sure did consume a lot of antibiotics in the past year!

     Rita R. Robison, consumer journalist, reports that gift cards make great last-minute presents for holiday shoppers. They are practical and convenient and typically involve no extra expense. As a result, the sales of gift cards have skyrocketed in recent years.

     But she also warns that cyber-criminals don't just shoot out from North Korea. They can also skulk around the mall, stealing information from gift cards that they can then use to rip you off. She offers some tips on how to protect yourself in her post Gift Cards: Watch Out for Problems During the Holidays.

     And there's another cyber-problem for holiday shoppers. Have you ever placed a holiday gift order online, only to find that an ad for the item pops up later when your spouse or other family member logs onto the computer? It ruins your surprise. And it feels a little creepy, too, doesn't it? In her post How Targeted Ads Ruin Holiday Surprises Robison sponsors a guest article by David Vronay, founder and ceo of, who explains how and why sites from Amazon to Google track your purchases through Big Data.

     For these and other holiday consumer tips check out Robison's blog The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide.

     Meanwhile, Laura Lee at the Midlife Crisis Queen tells us that she has moved over 25 times in her life -- and is in the process of doing it once again. So this year she is enjoying a simple, makeshift Christmas in her tiny in-town rental, while anxiously awaiting the completion of her new solar home in the Colorado foothills. She is powering through the Christmas season without a Christmas tree, but has summoned the Christmas spirit by mounting a few interesting holiday decorations around her walls -- and around her dog as well.

     Finally, from the Southwest desert, we hear that even where it never snows people still love Christmas -- as a time not so much to exchange presents but as an opportunity to celebrate life, wish for peace, and share with friends. In that spirit Kathy at Smart Living has compiled a few Christmas quotes from the likes of Taylor Caldwell, who said, "This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone."

     And Mr. Christmas himself, Charles Dickens who told us, "I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."



Anonymous said...

Well that being said, I tried to buy a few veggies and fruits and some tissue for our noses and you would think in the safeway where I was shopping that jesus was coming that day or something else was a coming..People bought food like a hurricane was coming and rude and crude behavior was everywhere, the poor retail clerks, produce fellow, bakery manager and meat market head honcho working like one legged people in a kicking contest..Don't people stock up early and often so not to rush on top of the Christmas fa la la??? I guess not? It behoves the hell out of me, christas and Hanukkah only come once a year why can't people shop for food often and early and stock up if they are so lucky to have any cash to do so? I just don't get it, I don't shop at all in any Mall for anything starting in Nov. & dwefinitely not in December, I get gift cards for our child and my hubs so they can get what they like the week after the Hanukkah and Christmas and select good things they actually will wear and use at great discounts, they get cards with them on Christmas and Hanukkah whichever is first Hanukkah is now & they are happy as clams in the ocean beach! Happy Holidays, no I don't do holiday greeting letters, people see me all year thru and actually call me on a phone or visit me in person and we can catch up on our lives then you can tell I am a baby boomer and yes I write letters still and phone people to actually talk if I don't get to see them! ciao!

Anonymous said...

I meant to say Hanukkah and Christmas only come once a year, why can't people plan a big time ahead, not everyone has money and resources in the coldest part of the year, it rains over 200 days or cloudy out here, plus the stores jack up the price of items in November and December no matter what they say otherwise, why not get your stuff done by September and call it a day..It will save your sanity that is for sure!

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha. My grandkids are easy. All they want is money. I did buy Hannah a new computer on Black friday, however, I had her pik it out and I bought it via Amazon. Send me the link to the item you want I told her.

As for gift cards, I've done that from time to time, but, as I said, my kids like the flexibility of money. Its a control issue. Dianne

DJan said...

I read Meryl's Christmas letter and was astounded by the stuff she went through this year. Thanks for the other links, Tom, I'll go visit them, too. And Merry Christmas to you and yours. :-)

Anonymous said...

I have written 3 Christmas newsletters so far and am keeping them in a binder. It's fun to go back and read the previous ones and see how far we have come.

Stephen Hayes said...

An informative post as always. I hope you're having a terrific Holiday Season.

Kathy @ SMART Living said...

Merry Christmas Tom! Thanks for including a link here even though I was too lazy (and yes busy!) to send one myself. Christmas really is a wonderful time for us all to remember how connected we are to one another and how good our lives are. Thanks for your friendship and I'm very happy to have found your blog this year...cuz hey, next year I'm hitting 60 and I could use some guidance!!!! :-)

Linda Myers said...

Thanks, Tom, for gathering us together once again. We are a real live community!