I've been using the power of Santa Claus for a few weeks now, and things are looking good. For maximum effectiveness, the use of Santa and his omnipresence is good for the window directly following Halloween until December 25. During this time, I enjoy the increased attentiveness, dearth of meltdowns and general calm that precedes Christmas day.
Like my parents before me, I have tended to go a bit overboard in the present department, vowing each year that I would buy less, and give more. Well, this year I can proudly say I've done it. I am not sure whether it was the weather, the state of the economy, or losing some special friends this year, but I've found it harder to get into the Christmas mood, so I have shopped less and donated more.