Americans Are Doing More, Buying Less

In the past our family would go to exotic places like Mexico over the holidays, this year we stayed home

In the past our family would go to exotic places like Mexico over the holidays, this year we stayed home

There’s an interesting article in the New York Times about how American families are spending less money in these Recessional times and instead spending more time doing activities together.

The article features Rosario and Igor Montoya, who used to buy things like crazy for their kids. Since their income has dropped, now they spend the weekends paddling around in a pink canoe they bought secondhand, making boats and statues out of the sticks and rocks they find on the islands near Biscayne Bay.

I’ve never been big on shopping (in fact, I’d rather have swine flu than go to the mall) but our family was definitely part of this national trend of buying less and doing more over the holiday break.

In the past over the holidays we’ve traveled to exotic places like Loreto, Mexico.

This year we stayed home.

We spent our time together going on family hikes (don’t get an idyllic picture here. We dragged the kids outside kicking and screaming), scootering to the park, making elaborate dinners with dishes like roasted beets in pistachio nut butter and homemade gnocchi, having family clean-up sessions to Janet Jackson (volume: loud–both the music and the whining), and playing card games together: Uno, Crazy Eights, and Go Fish.

On New Year’s Day we played Apples to Apples (Etani, Leone, and I were one team since Etani can’t read and Leone can’t hold her head up completely) and James made figgy pudding (as in “Oh, bring us some figgy pudding; Oh, bring us some figgy pudding…”), which has to steam for three hours on the stove.

We won’t even be going on a road trip anytime soon. Our car, a compact Geo Prizm, only seats five people so now that Leone is here we would have to rent a car for all six of us to drive anywhere together. But I’m not complaining. Though part of me is sorry that we don’t have the money in our budget to visit family back East or go someplace warm and fabulous this year, mostly I’m just grateful to be where we are.

Besides, the kids are clamoring to learn to play poker. That should keep us busy for a long time to come.

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