Holidays Well Spent – The New York Times

Jeanne Strejlau, 58, paralegal

“We’re a big Italian family, so we do three celebrations for Christmas. If we host the whole family, we have 40 people who come. We spend a lot on food, wine and liquor. I would say it’s up there, like $600 or $700. At Christmastime we splurge.”

Nicole Strejlau, 27, pastry chef

“There’s holiday parties and gift giving and things you want to do, but come January, then what? Am I really able to afford it? Should I just enjoy it now and deal with it later? This is something that our generation has to deal with — not just for this time of year.”

Martin Block, 64, lawyer

“I am spending like a fiend this year. I’m optimistic about the economy and about my situation. I haven’t spent a lot over the last couple of years. I’m buying more gifts. I’m getting a bunch of big-ticket jewelry items, and we’re going on a cruise.”

Jennifer Maria, 37, executive assistant

“I will be spending a lot of money — on candles, ornaments, mugs, scarves, whatever I can get. I think a lot of people are leaning toward retail therapy because of everything that’s going on in the world. I think that’s why everyone is out here — just trying to get that imagery out of their head.”

Melanie Romero, 31, financial aid adviser

“My dog, Sammy, gets a bed, boots, a jacket, treats. I’ll be shopping for my mom and sister, too. That’s probably $300 to $400. I save for this. I love the holidays. We’re Puerto Rican, so our traditions are important. Christmas Eve we have a party at my mom’s house. We play music, dance, watch movies and eat a lot — pernil, rice, plátanos.”

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