With a bad economy, not-shopping has become cool. Instead of people bragging about how they found the Toy of This Year's Quest for their little darling or the latest gadget-that-we'll-never-fully-decipher for their spouse, we hear comments about cutting back made with a tone of "I'm such a good person for doing this." Newspapers are full of chatty little articles about how to have a scaled-down Christmas: play board games at home instead of going on expensive vacations, create homemade gifts that reflect effort not economics, and give the money you would have spent on gifts to charity.

It's all really, really nice. I just wonder what took us so long to get here.

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