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Twas the night before Christmas and all through the pad not a blogger was stirring not even Matt Jabs.

The stockings were hung by the monitor with care. In Hopes that Trent Hamm soon would be there.

The Weakonomist was nestled all snug in his chair, while visions of Baker danced in the air.

Mrs. Micah in her kerchief and MLR in his cap had just settled down for a long winter tweetchat.

When down in the blog den there arose such a clatter J. Money sprang from his desk to see what was the matter.

Away to the window he flew like a flash, slipped on velour and fell on his ash.

The moon on the breast of the Squawkfox‘s melons gave the lustre of mid-day to MoneyMonk‘s lemons.

When what to his wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature cooper, and eight tiny reindeer,

with a little old driver, so simple and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his bloggers they came, and he whistled and shouted and called them by name;

Now Matt! Now Adam! Now Woj! and Nickel on Claire, on Ray on Laura, and Flexo.

To the depths of the web! to the top of my wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

They ran to the militia and signed up in droves. Then over to Wisebread for deals on great robes,

So up to my house-top the bloggerrs they flew, With the sleigh full of answers, and Jeremy too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof Jeff Rose and Kelly both acting aloof.

As I clicked on my keyboard, with a quite pensive frown, through my firewall St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, and a bible from Bob was tucked in his crook;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, And a bottle O whiskey for Cash Money Pat.

His eyes — how they twinkled! his shoes were quite sleek! his gadgets and gizmo’s showed inner geek!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, cause credit’s not needed for his gifts in tow;

Two lonely dollars he held tight in his teeth, And a bargain shop necklace he wore like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly, That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was lazy but fruGal, a right jolly old ellef, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

But I was a Samurai who once had been dead, which led me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went for broke, And filled Debt Kids stockings; then turned for a smoke,

And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his cooper, to his bloggers gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

–Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays from Suburban Dollar

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It wouldn’t be Suburban Dollar if I didn’t hit on some truly suburban topics. I don’t pretend to live an exciting night life of nights on the town, crazy parties, and all night raves. I am a true suburban dad. Almost everything we do either centers around is limited by our children. This isn’t a complaint it is just a fact. Going to a football game or a movie is not only expensive but it is a logistical nightmare with finding a babysitter, driving the kids there, packing bottles, etc.. etc.. When money is short it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice fun, you just have to start looking closer to home.

The Big Game

This past weekend my wife and I got a treat and were able to go out without the kids. We haven’t been out together since our second son was born over 6 weeks ago. We had a blast but football tickets are expensive and you just can’t get away all the time. A great, kid friendly, alternative is to host your own neighborhood tailgate. Have everyone come down to your driveway and bring a dish, their kids, and some frosty beverages. The kids will love it because they can play together, the adults will get non child interaction, and it is just as good as siting in a parking lot somewhere.  Move it inside to watch the game and weather isn’t an issue, crowds are non existent, and you don’t need binoculars to see whether Eric Berry just broke an interception record (he was so close).

Movie Night

Lets face it, movies are ridiculously expensive. It costs less to wait and buy the Blue Ray movie then it does for two people to go to the theater and watch a movie, let alone a family. With the invention of things like RedBox and NetFlix you can get a movie to watch at little cost to you. Throw in some popcorn from the store and you have a movie night that won’t break the bank, and will provide for a lot better family environment. Oh yeah and you can take a baby.

Party Time

Parties are not known for their highly frugal nature. You invite a bunch of people over, they drink wine, eat some food, drink some more wine, etc. There is huge amounts of prep work to make dinner for your guests, not to mention buying the wine and supplies. There is no reason an informal dinner party has to be a one house show. There are several ways you can have a great party without breaking the bank.

  1. The B-Y-O-E party. This could be considered the Uncle Scrooge party method but it has worked great for me in the past. Anytime you are just looking for an excuse to get together you can throw a Bring Your Own Everything party. You supply the grill/cooking surface and your guests bring whatever they want to eat. All you as the host are responsible for is not burning the Smith’s hot dogs or dropping Mrs. Brown’s steak on the ground.
  2. The B-Y-O-M party.  Another adaptation of the BYOB party you have each of your guests bring their own meat. In this party you could/would provide all other aspects of the party, such as plates, forks, condiments, and side dishes. Meat is usually the most expensive part of a meal and if everyone brings their own no one is left buying 15 lbs. of hamburger meat.
  3. The Appetizer Party. Appetizers are small, generally easy to make, and inexpensive. Everyone attending brings one or two appetizers to share. You get to eat some great food and only had to slave over a hot stove for 1 hour instead of four.
  4. The Game Night Party. This is actually a natural progression from any of the above parties or it could be a stand alone event after everyone has eaten dinner. We typically see more of the game type parties in the winter when you haven’t seen your next door neighbor for four weeks. Games like Partini, Cranium, and Catch Phrase are good entertaining party games.

Next time you think you have to get out of the hood to have a good time, think about ways you can keep at home and have fun for less. I would love to hear about any other ideas you have for having fun close to home.

Game Night

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