A reader is appalled at the way her boyfriend and his family celebrate the holidays

Question: I just started dating this wonderful guy, but I learned something very strange last month. He and his family celebrate the holidays on Dec. 29 every year! Seriously, they open gifts and eat a big family dinner four days after Christmas!

Why? Because they’re not very religious and they want to save money, so they do all their gift-shopping in the three days after Christmas. I’m not religious, either, but I love the idea of Christmas dinner. I can’t see marrying this man and having children who grow up celebrating Christmas on Dec. 29!  My parents are equally horrified.

How do I convince my boyfriend that this is crazy!?

— Sonja in California

Howard Dvorkin CPA answers…

I’m a financial counselor, not a family therapist. So I’m not qualified to mediate the date of Christmas dinner for your two families.

However, as a CPA and personal finance author, I must say: I admire the creative frugality here. In more than 20 years of suggesting novel ways to make ends meet, I thought I’d heard them all. I must admit this is a new one.

Let me make two points, and you can decide for yourself if they’re valid…

First, the upside

If you do indeed marry this man — and as you said, you just starting dating — this could actually work out perfectly for both families.

As a husband myself, I can tell you there’s a certain stress to trying to balance your holiday dinners with both sides of the family. Many couples split the difference: Your family at Thanksgiving, mine at Christmas, and then we’ll switch off next year.

But you could easily hold Christmas dinner with your family and then take your children to your eccentric grandparents for a second holiday dinner.

Second, the savings

It’s no secret many couples fight about money. There are may reasons for that, but the biggest is simply that one partner is a saver and one is a spender. While your boyfriend’s family saves money in a way that appalls you, it’s a good sign that they’re not spendthrifts. That would likely doom your relationship more than a belated holiday dinner.

The silver lining here is that, should your relationship progress, your husband will be wise with his money. That’s something worth celebrating any time of the year.

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About the Author

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

I’m a certified public accountant who has authored two books on getting out of debt, Credit Hell and Power Up, and I am one of the personal finance experts for Debt.com. I have focused my professional endeavors in the consumer finance, technology, media and real estate industries creating not only Debt.com, but also Financial Apps and Start Fresh Today, among others. My personal finance advice has been included in countless articles, and has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Forbes and Entrepreneur as well as virtually every national and local newspaper in the country. Everyone should have a reason for living that’s bigger than themselves, and besides my family, mine is this: Teaching Americans how to live happily within their means. To me, money is not the root of all evil. Poor money management is. Money cannot buy happiness, but going into debt always buys misery. That’s why I launched Debt.com. I’m glad you’re here.

Published by Debt.com, LLC