Last-minute tax-saving
moves to make now
Murphy's Law applies to short-lived Murphy tax ruling

Post-holiday carnival time ... and some after-Christmas
tree tips

Still sitting there staring at your Christmas tree, which looks so sad and bare without any gifts under it? Well, here's something to occupy your time: Visit the 80th Carnival of Personal Finance.

Hosted this week by My Personal Finance Blog, this post-holiday carnival is not just Christmas leftovers. There are plenty of piping hot new offerings in easy to sample categories such as budgeting/frugal (Diets and Dollars), credit/debt (Sticky Fingers) and the always handy other (Law of Tenfold Return).

Of course, there are many more personal finance areas, including taxes, where you'll find my item on how the IRS and its out-of-date forms will deal with the extended taxes passed a few weeks ago.

Happy post-Christmas Carnivalizing!

No more naked trees: A lot of people suffer a post-holiday letdown. I think that much of the melancholy can be traced to those aforementioned sad trees, standing there in the middle of the room still nicely decked out, but without anything underneath.

I know that for the hubby and me, a beautiful and thoroughly decorated tree is not complete without the goodies it shades. So that's why we have "fake" presents.

A few years ago, we wrapped eight empty boxes of varying sizes and stuck them, along with some decorated containers that hold our ornaments, under our tree.

Under_the_tree_12272006 This technique has several advantages. First, as you can see in this photo I took this morning, our tree is never sans presents, so it never looks sad and naked.

Even better, I got to use some goofy paper for Stoli_wrapping_2_1 these faux presents. My favorite is the red one there on the left under the tree. That was a page of paper inserted as an ad in a magazine, Vanity Fair I think. It's for Stolichnaya vodka. For real! Here's a closeup.

We also got multicultural. That blue one on the right (in the Hannukah_wrapping_2_1 tree photo and right here) is Hanukkah (or Chanukah)  paper. We actually were looking for wrapping for a baby gift, but this was all that was available at our local Publix store in South Florida. So we used it then and we later put it to work building religious celebration bridges.

But I digress. Back to the wrapping reasons.

Secondly, thanks to these empty packages, I don't feel rushed to buy and wrap things just to get something under the tree as soon as it's up.

In the third place, since we tend to leave our tree up for a while after Christmas (everyone celebrates Epiphany, don't they?), our tree still looks complete even after the ravaged wrapping paper is cleaned up on the 25th.

And finally, and most importantly, since we always have so many "gifts" under the tree, we don't feel compelled to buy more just to fill in empty spots.

The only downside to this approach is you have to keep an eye on holiday visitors who want to open up every last present!


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