My roommate got me an awesome birthday present back in September, so it was a pretty big deal to get her something quality for Christmas.  Inspiration struck when we were arranging my Christmas village (okay, I have a Christmas village) and she said, “It’s like somebody finally got me a Barbie car!” The fact that her parents never bought her a Barbie car has been a childhood trauma that comes up reasonably regularly in joking conversation–so, to those of you who are worried about getting your kids what they want this holiday, let me issue a plea on behalf of future roommates everywhere.  Don’t worry about it!  Minor disappointments now can lead to functional, only mildly traumatized adults and completely badass Goodwill gifts.  Not to mention my 23-year-old roommate’s delight was probably just as good, if not better, than it would have been at six.  Which is all to say, if you couldn’t guess, that the best of the internet skips around a little bit this week.

  • JD has one of the better holiday articles, defining social capital with the film It’s a Wonderful Life. (Read it at Get Rich Slowly)
  • Trent responds to the over-gifting relative with a much gentler and more diplomatic approach than the common wisdom. (Read it at The Simple Dollar)
  • And now for something completely different–but completely interesting.  Phillip analyzes why the new face of poverty is fat. (Read it at Wise Bread)
  • From a more academic perspective, JLP wonders whether it’s time to say goodbye to cheap food. (Read it at All Financial Matters)
  • Lots of people have been writing about tax breaks on capital losses at the end of the year.  Since I don’t own stocks I don’t exactly… care… but if you do, FMF has one of the most comprehensive articles about what it means. (Read it at Free Money Finance)
  • I bank online only, and I love it. Flexo explains why it’s safe–reminding us that we don’t think twice about letting waiters wander off with our credit cards but don’t trust some of the strongest online security technology money can buy. (Read it at Consumerism Commentary)
  • Finally, Tegan and Sara compare differing perspectives on value and frugality–no, really! My roommate would totally have gone to the Ice Lounge with Sara–I probably would have stayed home with Tegan, counting my forty bucks. (Watch part one and part two at YouTube)

Queercents Rehash: Trim the Financial Fat this Holiday Season: Ways to avoid the last-minute freakout.