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Well, it’s finally November, and the barrage of holiday advertising is upon us. I’m already starting to get Black Friday preview e-mails. Not that I really mind. I love a good bargain hunt.

In the crochet and knit world some specials are already in the works. I know Cooperative Press is planning a holiday deal with discounts when you purchase a book to give to a friend. Webs has a new wish list feature on their website. You can up your chances of getting the needles, yarn, and books you really want, even if everyone giving you gifts doesn’t know the difference between knitting and crochet. (1 hook vs. 2 needles, people! Sigh. Silly muggles.)

But the more I think about holiday gift giving, the more I realize how growing up and becoming an adult has changed that. When I was little I would make up a long holiday wish list. It was always exciting, and there was a small flood of gifts from my parents, aunts, grandparents, cousins, etc. My list was even longer than it might have been since my birthday falls smack in the middle of the Winter holidays.

Now that I’m an adult though, the dynamics of gift giving have changed. We still exchange holiday pleasantries and wishes for good health and happiness with more distant relatives, but there is no longer any obligation either way to give a physical or monetary gift. In a way it’s nice- my bank account balance doesn’t have to take a horrendous blow in December, and really, holidays should be about quality time with family members.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s still gift giving going on. My kids make out like bandits, and my parents and in-laws give us some money to spend on whatever we’d like. It’s great, and appreciated, but it just feels different now. As an adult, I know that money does not appear out of nowhere. If I spend that $50 on yarn or a new gadget, then it won’t be there when my car battery needs replacing or my daughter needs glasses. (Thankfully, we’re in a good situation, where I don’t have to choose between the two. My daughter will be getting glasses, and I’m going to order myself a copy of Extreme Double Knitting). Receiving money just feels more complicated, now that I’m aware of the opportunity cost.

What about you? Do you receive monetary gifts? Do they go straight in the bank account or do you consider it “free money” to spend on whatever you’d like?