With mounting med costs, disability and frosty budgets, HIVers’ holiday shopping can be quite the nightmare before Christmas. But December cheer needn’t mean financial fear. Here’s how three veterans handle their cash.

Go for broke: “In December, I forget my financial stress and spend what I want on my boyfriend and family. I buy everything—a tree and decorations— and I feel physically better.”

Joe Norton, 43, AIDS organization employee, NYC

Spread the love: “I want to buy everyone something, even if that means going to the dollar store. It may require more creativity, but it can be special. I may also buy clothing for organizations that help people during the holidays.”
Devin Robinson, 22, actor/educator, Boca Raton, Florida

Do it yourself: “I raised three kids alone and am used to doing a lot with a little. I make gifts like jewelry sets and mosaics. Regardless, I try not to stress because stress is a friend of AIDS, not mine.”
Dyane Haddock, 41, artist, New Port Richey, Florida