“Your aunt emailed me. Again,” my mother says, exasperated. “She wants to know what you want for Christmas.”

And so begins the yearly grilling, the king of First World dilemmas: What do I want for Christmas?

I  distinctly remember this being easier when I was younger. Whether it was Aunt Glenda, Grandma, or even a mall Santa, the ideas seemed to pour out of my head. Gameboy games, Transformers, Bionicles. I know, it’s hard to believe I wasn’t always as stoically silent as I am today.

Christmas is a time when a kid can wish for anything under the sun and, provided they’ve met Santa’s requirements, receive some of them (I only said they could wish for anything).

As children, our main influx of new toys came on two days: Christmas (And for me, also Hanukkah. The dual holiday is one of the benefits of  being half-Jewish) and our birthdays. If parents were lucky, they were spaced evenly apart, shortening the barren void filled with “Mommy pleeeeeases”’s and tearful,  empty-handed exits from the toy store.

But as I get older and more able to purchase things on my own (or rather, with birthday checks from Grandma), I frequently find myself beating my parents to the punch.

Just two weeks ago I elated my mother by finally giving her something, anything, to put on her shopping list: a $40 expansion for World of Warcraft.

For better or worse, I inherited a double dose of frugality, my mother’s side being Jewish and my father’s side being Scottish. This also, unfortunately, includes the frugal person’s susceptibility to discounts.

Come Black Friday, the $40 expansion was reduced to $10. Not only that, but dozens of games that I could have added to the list were reduced to being in my budget or, as I like to call it, The Danger Zone.

With that kind of discount, how could I afford not to buy them?  Especially when, if I waited, I would have to deal with the nagging feeling that I would be left miles behind by friends who already purchased the game.

Oh, Christmas list, we hardly knew ye!

Come Dec. 25, the morning is saved only by the thoughtfulness of my parents and the infallibly accurate suggestions that my mother gives me when relatives are getting so fed up that outside assistance is needed.

The problem with this is that I, usually not more than three days after Christmas, will see something that I want.

Oh, well, it would make a great birthday gift idea.

Then again, three months is such an awfully long time and it isn’t that pricey.

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