questionschristmas checks, do they really make sense?

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Actually, I think what you're doing is clever. You get what you want (at sale prices) & it's easy for dad. Are you going to wrap your gifts from him and act surprised when you open them? ....Or explain to him what you've done & ask him to wrap them? Hmmmm Maybe not ask him, huh?

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I noticed last year there were some good deals following Christmas on the "you didn't get what you want so here it is" idea.

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I rarely buy stuff for myself til after the holidays. The best sales for the stuff I want happen then. In fact, They often start the day before or the day of Christmas -- after it is too late to order any gifts.
But then, maybe stuff you like is better before. What's on your list ?

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you can always set up an Amazon wish list and share it out to the habitual "sock givers"

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I think you are missing what the spirit of Christmas giving is all about.

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@barnabee: I totally understand the spirit of giving at Christmas time,as does my father. We used to agonize over getting the perfect gifts for our loved ones, things they could actually use and would appreciate for years to come. My brother and I, however, are well past our childhoods...where the magic of Christmas giving is most powerful and wondrous. He thoughtfully plots and ponders over gifts for our children now, as do we...but he made the choice a couple years ago that the adults could use the cash better themselves and puts a nice check in a nice card which we read before watching our children and grandchildren tear through colorful paper with delight and amaze at the treasure they find inside.

I understand the spirit of giving at Christmas and I remember how I felt when seeing all those wrapped gifts adorned with bows and name tags, and filled with possibilities. I understand the spirit of Christmas giving, I see it in their eyes now, and remember.