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Overspending: A Tale of Christmas Past
Amazon.com Amazon.com
Powell's Books Powell's Books

It may be hard to find the silver lining in the economic downturn, but the recession has given me at least one important gift: It has cured me of my shameful habit of overspending at Christmas.

For years, I've vowed to cut back and spend less -- and every one of those years, I failed utterly. Despite my modest, carefully constructed list of presents, I would invariably fall prey to a last-minute shopping frenzy, fueled by the sudden fear that my children were going to find my gifts meager or lacking. Haunted by an image of their disappointed faces on Christmas morning, I would forget my firm resolutions and find myself randomly snatching up every train set, stuffed animal or fairy princess wand that caught my eye.

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Thanks to Red Room's Gina Misiroglu for helping me get this piece on to AOL. It is part of Red Room's efforts to bring traffic to our site.