The holidays are not my favorite time of year. For me, they just throw a wrench in the works. As this little article from the Mayo Clinic states:
The holiday season, which begins for most Americans with Thanksgiving and continues through New Year's Day, often brings unwelcome guests — stress and depression. And it's no wonder. In an effort to pull off a perfect holiday, you might find yourself facing a dizzying array of demands — parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, to name a few. So much for peace and joy, right?
. . .
Learn to recognize common holiday triggers, so you can disarm them before they lead to a meltdown . . . .
At least I know I'm not alone. And thank God for the Internet when it comes to shopping and even sending out cards. I still need to buy a few cards and that's it! (No parties, baking, etc. for me.)
I have a "flexible spending account" at work to which I contribute pre-tax dollars from each pay check to pay health insurance co-payments for doctor's visits and prescriptions. I can also use it for over-the-counter medicines (I take Prilosec, e.g.), eyeglasses, dental, etc. At the beginning of the year, you estimate what your expenses will be and hope that by the end of the year you have just enough in the account to pay for your last co-pay or medicine. I did a pretty good job estimating this year (last year I had quite a bit left in the account and bought a load of Prilosec at the last minute). (I've also bought glasses at the end of the year.) I'll have one more co-pay before the end of the year, which will leave me a little over $100 to spend (or lose). I can buy a few boxes of Prilosec with that. (People in other wealthy, industrialized countries don't have to worry about stuff like this.) At any rate, I like this account since it reduces my taxable income.
I guess I'll get cleaned up and run some errands. Still have to get those last few cards. Later I'll call my friend in Canada. They just had a major snow storm up there.