I Am Protective



Holding Onto Joy (and Your Budget)

I love this time of year. It’s a season of joy, cozy nights by the fire, Hallmark movies, and time with family and friends. The whole world seems to take a moment to breathe and focus on things that really matter, like the spirit of giving. Most of us make all kinds of lists to stay organized during the holiday season. A list of gifts perhaps you’d like to have, a list of gifts you’re going to give… and “checking it twice,” right? Buying gifts can be a wonderful holiday experience but stressful at the same time. If you’re like me, you care a lot about getting something the other person will really love. But as a young married couple trying our best to stick to a budget and pay off student loans, we can’t always afford the kinds of gifts we’d like to get for everyone. When you consider…

The Santa Clause Conundrum

My son believed in Santa Claus until he was in high school. At first, when we realized he was still believing long after most of his peers, we thought it was sweet. A few years later, we started to worry. What if he was hanging with a bunch of cool teenage guys and mentioned Santa Claus in a way-too serious manner? Not cool. So we started to drop hints. Asking him what he would like MOM and DAD to get him for Christmas instead of what he’s asking Santa for. Jokingly asking him if he still believed, and then chickening out when he said he did. Every year, without fail, he insisted we put out cookies and milk. When he was 13, I just happened to be out of cookies on Christmas Eve. He was not amused. I think I ended up making an eleventh-hour run to the Chevron for…