I'd look at Thanksgiving dinner and secretly brood that it could have bought a week's worth of groceries. And Christmas presents? Forget it. I love getting things for people, but when I had to look forward to a month of everyone eating Ramen, well, I just couldn't see the sense of it all. But we did it anyway, in our fashion. Somehow it worked out and by New Year's I felt I'd witnessed something not unlike the miracle of the loaves and fishes. Regardless of how it turned out every year, I always spent the first month of the year ill from the result of constant grinding, oppressive stress and guilt.
Mind you, I still think my 101 Christmas Gifts Under $10 blog entry is helpful. I've never understood people who put themselves in debt at Christmas time. To me, that's just mass consumerism that robs from the true spirit of the holidays (which is giving of oneself) and passes the American "gimme-gimme-gimme" disease on to one's kids. Don't even get me started on the subject of Black Friday...
But this year I can increase the dollar amount per person on my list, and I'm going to. Not so much that I forget all those years of being skint, or pretend they never happened, however.
That, I will never forget.