My wife lost her job the first business day of this year and ended up getting one three months later at a 17% cut in pay. We had an emergency fund which helped pass the time. My employer had a conference call Friday. I work for one of the largest health insurance providers in the country and with Obama's relection certain "predesigned strategies to ensure our continued growth and profitability had to be enacted." We should exceed targets this year but this is a forward looking stategy. Between immediate layoffs, middle management given a week to hand off projects and those mandated by state law to be given 60 days notice we downsized by 17%. Full Disclosure: Personally, I felt we were a little muffin top heavy so I thought some of this would happen. Me? The upside is I made the cut. The downside is on a seperate call our director didn't mix words in saying 65-70 hour work weeks will probably be the norm. And yes, I'm salary. We always set aside money monthly for xmas. We have no kids but a lot of nephews and nieces. Parents or older sibs we decide to buy for have always gotten "experiences." Some examples include tickets to a Brewer game combined with preferred parking and some cash for beer/food in the stands, an annual zoo pass, nights at a B&B or in one case we always buy one couple a 6 month Marcus Theaters pass which allows them to go to as many movies as they want since they are big time movie watchers. Most of the older nephews and nieces simply get Ben Franklins. We always give nice gifts during the year for birthdays, anniversaries, etc and don't save up for the end of the year; we rarely spend more than we have budgeted for except in a rare case where the perfect idea comes up. Our budgets run anywhere from $1,000-$1500; this year we plan on spending $600. So, how is the xmas budget looking for you this year?