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December 27, 2023

Yesterday was Christmas, and it seems like it was yesterday already. We are fortunate to have seven of our ten grandkids living close to us. As a result, we had a full house with all-day activities with kids and adults that concluded with an amazing Christmas dinner with my wife as head chef.

The holidays start early with my wife and I as we start thinking about presents in August. We hate last-minute shopping or brainstorming on what to get so and so weeks before Christmas. It is way easier to have most of the presents bought by December 1 and better on the budget. As the summer winds down, we start listening to family members for ideas for possible Christmas presents, paying attention to topics of their interests and what items they talk about. However, we have learned that buying presents too early in the year may become outdated or not of interest by the time Christmas comes rolling around.

Another talent my wife has is decorating the Christmas tree and the rest of the house (I am in charge of the exterior). Her process starts around August or September by searching for new decorating ideas and themes. This year, she chose a theme for the tree of nutcrackers with a color scheme of blue, gold, and red. She bought a ribbon with nutcracker printing and double-layered it with a glossy red ribbon on the underside. She also bought little 4” shiny drum ornaments and 4” nutcracker ornaments. Layered into the tree are 10” velvet flowers in blue, gold, and red with tiny gold ornaments. Instead of a typical tree top figurine, she inserted colored branches with shiny specs bending out so it looked like fireworks streaming out of the top. The tree was beautiful.

The best part of Christmas for me is connecting with our family. One observation I have is that grandkids seem to connect at a different level with each other than they do with their friends. It is especially noticeable with differing ages as they seem to connect well despite, and as they age, the depth of their relationship is unlike what it is with anyone else.

I really enjoyed watching my two littlest granddaughters playing with their new Barbie camper (complete with toilet in the back of the camper bathroom). They are about two years different in age but played together most of the day together.

Our two older grandsons were busy most of the day competing in the virtual world with their new VR headsets. Our oldest is very interested in Godzilla, with a collection of over 100 Godzilla figurines. I was dumbfounded to learn many of these detailed statues are collector items selling for over $600. Apparently, the Godzilla craze is like any other collector rage that results in items soaring in value.

The list of Christmas wishes was quite diverse among the grandkids, from Barbie paraphernalia to Godzilla. However, our middle grandson, per his character, filled in the gaps with unusual requests. His Christmas requests this year included a compound bow, night vision goggles, and a grappling hook with 100’ of rope. His explanation is if someone unwelcome comes to their house, he could spot them early with his night vision goggles, use the grappling hook and rope to scale the side of his house to the roof and shoot them with his compound bow. We couldn’t find reasonably priced night vision goggles but did find a forged steel grappling hook with 100’ climbers’ rope. The compound bow, per the parent’s request, was not for steel-tip arrows but for less harmless Nerf arrows.

As an added bonus, since we didn’t give him night vision goggles, we gave him Thor’s hammer in case he is engaged in hand-to-hand combat before scaling the side of the house.

We expect this one to grow up defending our country in the special forces.

What Does It Mean To Me?

We are hopeful that you had a wonderful Christmas day with friends and family. At Up Capital Management, we are thankful for the opportunity to serve you with this Weekly Brief and as clients of our financial planning and wealth management services. Let us know how we can assist you further in 2024. In the meantime, enjoy the last part of 2023, and we look forward to another year covering topics on the economy and investing opportunities.