It's fun to hear people's experiences with this idea. I do think it's true, the people we see on a regular basis more because they're classmates of dd, etc, ARE much more mainstream and, well, wealthier than us (at least financially). We were able to buy the house we wanted in a neighbourhood with a really great school because we don't have a car, cable TV, etc. We certainly don't feel house-poor and theoretically could buy a car; but for sure, we are less flush than most people in our neighbourhood. Which doesn't bother us at all, but may explain the reactions. It's true, we went to a party for a longtime friend and no-one would bat an eye there. Thanks for that reminder, it's easy to forget sometimes!
Also, I do not want to sound judgmental and that's so easy to do/be. I don't in any way think people are "wrong" for going out to dinner or whatever. I'd just like to separate in my own head the 'celebration' aspect of special events from this perceived pressure to somehow make them special by spending money.
We DID have our wonderful anniversary walk and realized we need to do that particular activity, walking just the two of us, regularly.
And now with Christmas coming, well, I actually love to buy things for dd. But I asked her yesterday to name 3 things besides presents that she was looking forward to at Christmas. She said making cookies, sleeping over at Nana and Granddad's on Dec. 26 and singing carols.
Then dh and I did the same thing. We're going to try and focus on those traditions more, while still having fun with gifts.
I'd like to lighten up a bit, though!