Tough times and spending on the holidays. That seems to be the big issue now-and-days.
Unfortunately we were a victim of this decision this year again. Back in 2008 we were first hit with the loss of a job suddenly because of the economy. We had a nice home that we were renting and going to buy and lost it. We were given the bad news during December to leave by January with my husband now being unemployed and I working part-time. We found a townhouse apartment to live in that year and six months. Back on topic, we had one daughter in high school her last year, one in grade school and kindergarten. Our oldest was working at the time after school had band and other school activities. She would hand over her check with no questions asked, thank goodness for her help. We had good friends and daughters coworkers helped us through that because Christmas was going to be nil. I couldn't even express the gratitude we had at that time.
As time moved on my husband got a good job working at a job he loved, we moved into a three bedroom home in the town we wanted to live in and I became pregnant with our fourth child unexpectantly! Our oops baby (lol).
Things were looking up and we were doing fine. We got a semi new/used car and I was a stay-at-home mom again for another 5-6 years. We managed to stay afloat with downsizing to the one car, living without cable, basic phone, basic internet and a very fine budget. We were skimming the surface like everyone else. We also were paying for bad financial decision from the past. Ahhh the things we learn.
Time moves on and we moved to a smaller house and less rent 3 1/2 years later. Mind you we have been renting homes for a while. This one was a pit stop we were hoping for at least another two years so we could buy our own, to having to move again a year later because our lease was up, owner wanted to sell, and the unthinkable happened again, husband lost his job after five years. This was out of the blue. Farmers were not able to get big tax breaks for farm equipment so that led the company to make cuts and he was one on top of many others that lost their jobs too.
So here we are again jobless and needing to move again. Thank goodness after a long summer of searching my husband settled in a factory job again. We are blessed. After finding the job we were still hunting for a place to live and coming to the thought that we may have to move in with my mom until we found a place in the area we were already in so we didn't have to relocate the kids to a different school. Blessed again we found a home to rent that was a little bigger has a huge yard and by a local park. God is good. All this with two months before Christmas and we are thinking, "what are we going to do".
This leads me to this topic, less or more, spend what we do not have, borrow from friends and family, or live with a new tradition. I have always wanted Christmas to be less about gifts and more about time and family and true meaning on the story of Mary and Joseph's journey to being parents of our saviour. Well we took the plung. I do believe God had his hand in this the whole time. We did worry how the kids would take it. Now the kids are 3, 11, and soon to be 16 so can you imagine if this went bad. Well to my surprise we have done a good job raising our kids.
Satan was working on my husband and I in making us feel guilty. This year we decorated and watched a lot of the holiday shows. My 11 year old had her list made out and was hoping for some gifts that were out of our range. When asked "do you think I'll get some of these from Santa!" well, here was our window of opportunity (live or die) take the plung. I opened up with "you know your getting to the age that Santa doesn't give to you like you were when you were little", I get this big eyed look like is he "real" look. My hands start sweating and my husband gives me the raised eyebrow look. I said calmly and pray for guidance "Santa is mostly for the little kids because the don't understand a lot". I try not to go far on that in fear the topic gets to deep and I may not have answers for. I proceed "As you get older the gifts lessen in quantity and become that one gift that you really want that Santa can help mom an dad with. Sometimes that may be the only one you get depending on the demand and how expensive it is, and sometimes we don't get what we want no matter how much we want it because it may not be what is needed and if it is for selfish reasons. The main goal is that we have to accept this and remember the reason for the season. We have to keep the spirit alive for the little ones like your little sister then every now and then when you get older you get one from Santa". I know this is a run-around answer and I have some family and friends that would disagree with the way I handled it. I just can't bring myself to be the one who does the "dirty deed" the truth when we spend their childhood building this fantasy up. I know my older two children have figured it out and play along with me but I never had to tell them they just accepted it.
The decision has been made went from 5-6 presents a piece to just one to the 11 yr old and one to the 16 yr old and three to the three year old. Is this the way I wanted it but there was no choice. It was better than nothing. My husband and I really struggled with this and felt like poo over it. A couple of days before the big day we really concentrated on stories of family and scriptures that I could think of and the reason why Christ was born and the role he had in his life from birth til death was for us to be forgiven and to be thankful each and everyday for what we have and that one day when Jesus comes back to reign on earth forever there will be no suffering and only happiness. I think it hit home with my 11 yr old. I asked her if she would be disappointed if she did not get everything but maybe a few, she said no that family and God was the real reason. She said, "I'm not going to lie, I would love to have a new phone, mini Ipad, and more but those are just things." I was floored. Maybe I need to listen to myself more lol.
The 16 yr old I think was so happy to buy for her family with her money from her job that the thought of not getting a lot was not a bother to her. She was real excited to go shopping with her older sister. She adores her so much and hangs on to every minute alone with her. Now it has never been like this and they still have their tifs.
The big day comes Christmas morning and it goes off without a problem. They get gift certificates from their grandparents, big sister and fiance and my mom included. My mom made them hand crochet angels to hang in their rooms, puzzles and coloring book "Frozen" themed. Now you know the 3 yr old is in her relm. So out of all again we did something right and were blessed with family time, movies, games and laughter.
I don't want anyone to think I'm shaking my finger at anyone who goes over board or indulges in the holidays. I have been guilty of it as well. But, times are changing and are getting harder and harder and I dont want my kids loosing the focus of the real meaning of Christmas. So if you found yourself struggling this holiday I hope this helped you. Your not alone. I do believe though we have started a new tradition and will continue.