Retail therapy. It is a common affliction. Particularly for those of us in debt. Not all, but many people find a certain high from shopping. While I was never a shopaholic, I do thoroughly enjoy the bliss I experience from a successful excursion to the mall. In light of all of this, I have to be careful at Christmas.
Last year, when GJS and I got our debt snow ball really rolling, I informed all my friends that I (we) wouldn't be exchanging Christmas or birthday gifts anymore. Most of my friends completely understood. Plus, since we're all getting older and many are parents, it was probably a relief. Admittedly, this wasn't a flawless plans. I still exchange birthday gifts (but not Christmas) with one friend and my best friend can't help herself but get gifts for me (and everyone else she loves), but she doesn't expect anything in return.
Christmas gifts are now the exclusive domain of family. GJS and I buy each other little token gifts from time to time but mainly avoid exchanging in favor of planning an outing or date night. We make gifts as much as possible because in addition to being less expensive (usually), it allows our personalities to show through and the receiver gets a bit of us, not just a gift card or another DVD. Truthfully, I adore hand made gifts. Below is a picture of my wedding gift from GJS. Can't find that at the store.
I hope your shopping and gift exchanging are joyful times for you and yours. Please excuse me while I ponder my next purchase and day dream about the resulting afterglow. Fa La La La La La La La La!