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Dear Dharma,

I just got laid off from my job. Before you say you’re sorry to hear that, I’ve HATED my employer for the past two years so it’s a good thing! I got a great severance package so I don’t have to find work right away.

My concern is that Christmas is coming and I don’t know what expectations are when it comes to buying gifts since I’m on a budget now. Can you give me some advice please?

Blue Christmas

Dear Blue,

Just like Costco and Walmart, Dharma’s going to jump straight out of Halloween and dive head first into the festivities of Christmas.

First of all, congratulations on the loss of your job!  I honestly don’t think I’ve ever said that before.

Communication is the key here.  There’s no shame in being on a budget, especially now that your financial circumstances have changed, you just need to communicate the expectations to those you normally exchange gifts with.  Sooner is better than later, as there are always the keeners that start their Christmas shopping early.

And getting their buy-in to the situation is a good thing too.  Don’t just say, “We’re not exchanging gifts this year.”  Go more along the lines of, “With the recent loss of my job, would you be okay if we didn’t exchange gifts this year?”  I’m certain anyone would be in agreement with that kind of approach, non?

Also, maybe you could look at going the home-made and/or home baked direction.  If you don’t want to show up empty handed at the multitude of Christmas events, trying bringing a few baked goods, should you happen to be one of those people who are good in the kitchen.  I hear hand crafted macarons are always appreciated this time of year…



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  • gemma471 says:

    i think most ppl would be understanding and not have a problem with it. maybe try suggesting something to fill the place of a gift exchange, like getting together for a christmas drink, or maybe a games night. replace the tradtion of presents with something else.

  • the other guy says:

    I get the part where you are so happy, but what if you don’t get a job right away? Things are pretty slim in some places, and the best plans don’t always work how we want them to.
    What you don’t want to do is arbitrarily hit your friends and family with a “oh yeah, I’m not doing presents this year”. That basically says that you don’t want any dialogue, and shuts out people who should be your safe resource in times like this. I say talk to people, let them be supportive and understanding.

  • CrazyDougie says:

    I am a big fan of making a donation to a charity or animal rights group- there are sooooo many worthy causes! You could follow up with a card to your family and friends to let them know that you are not able to buy individual gifts this season but in lieu of a gift exchange you have made a donation to (charity name) in their name. Win, win!

Whether you agree with Dharma or think she missed the mark on this one, leave a Comment!

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