A question I've gotten from various readers: Did my mother really stick to her plan of cancelling Christmas?
Answer: Mostly. There was a tree, but with the exception of a couple of red bows on one of the windows, that was it. As you can see from the photo of the tree and present underneath, all was done on a very modest scale.
Of course, the year my family decides on no gifts is the year where I actually had done most of my Xmas shopping early, by buying all kinds of small presents when I was in Taiwan. I insisted on distributing these anyway, especially since, being the youngest child, there were all kinds of years growing up where my present-receiving was substantially greater than my present-giving. My mom did stick to her resolution of not buying any gifts, which I was pleased about because I think it was a good thing for her to do.