The Cheapest Generation Goes Generous for the Holidays

Not too long ago, the Atlantic famously dubbed Millennials “the cheapest generation,” because we’re not buying houses and cars at the fevered rate our parents did. And like, okay, but you could just as easily describe that as “prudent.” The original article’s co-author reversed himself earlier this fall. Still, the moniker stuck. And now we get articles like this one, claiming surprise that we miserly Millennials are having spendy holiday seasons. More spendy than average, in fact.

While 82 percent of Americans want to spend less this Christmas, millennials comprise the demographic most likely to up their spending this year, according to a recent report. … The Bankrate study found millennials were twice as likely as people 50 and over to say they felt “more comfortable” with their savings now than they did a year ago.

Well, maybe it’s because we haven’t blown our wads on houses and cars that we feel more comfortable — or at least comfortable enough to spend $25 more than we did last year on gifts.

Or maybe it’s because our generation is procreating.

Roye keeps her budget in check by keeping her Christmas list short, and nobody’s getting added. The sole exception? Babies. “I would never buy my friends a present, but all of a sudden they have a kid, and now I’m buying their kid a present,” she said.

Babies! Do you feel like you have to buy holiday gifts for your friends’ babies? I am horrified at the thought. Please do not buy my child a present. She does not need anything; she entertains herself happily with a box of tissues and some old playing cards.

If you feel obligated to do something nice for your parent friends, offer to babysit for a couple of hours on a weekend. Nobody tells you this before you become a parent, but it is a startling and weird life transition not to have weekends anymore. Treasure them while you can!

Of course, perhaps babies in your family are a different story; a person could go broke trying to give an educational, artisanal wooden toy to every niece, nephew, and cousin. Here is some baby-related gift-giving guidance, in case you find it helpful.

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