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A star to sum up the holidays: simple, clean, warm and bright., and a good motto for 2008.

Maybe, as some think, the easy money party is over here in Iceland, like its showing signs of being in the US and UK, but somehow I don't think Icelanders would really mind. I think instead there'd be fond remembrances of these, the good old days, when nearly everyone (not, however, everyone) got a chance to stock up on goodies and toys and luxuries and experiences for a season or two before hunkering back down into survival mode. Remember, its only two decades since inflation here was so high that the krona literally devalued in your pocket, and M&Ms were illegal (red dye#12) and macaroni was the only kind of pasta you could buy.

There's no long-term sense of entitlement here: almost all our money is new money. Some people might even say that kids these days should get a little taste of what recession really means, to give them a sense of perspective and a jolt of respect for what their elders had to live through. Kids adjust fairy quickly, though, to new experiences. It's the grown-ups, the homeowners, the loan-takers, who'd really feel the pain.

Of course there would be a national case of whining and a big dose of panic while all our many loans went into default, but I have a feeling there would be an underlying sigh of relief, because, frankly, being, and staying, prosperous is hard work. Settling back into how life was twenty or thirty years ago when you were a kid, when choices were few and luxuries fewer, is almost just like going home.

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