Since apparently we've been in a recession since last December, no kidding! Were you surprised to hear that? I most definately wasn't. I have been reigning in my spending for awhile. Not only that but I'm decluttering. For four people we have an amazing amount of "stuff." And, quite frankly, I'm tired of tripping over and picking it up all the time. Not to mention that we just don't need it all.
So here comes Christmas. I have always loved Christmas. I love presents, too. I have always loved opening presents!! Christmas and my birthday were always the best because of that. The way I think about gifts has changed though. I now understand what it must have been like as my parents to shop for Christmas. Kids love toys but parents love the practical. How do you find the balance? How much is too much? Will our kids feel deprived because they didn't get enough/ the new thing/ what they really wanted? Or will they be content with what they have because there is a balance?
I am lucky in a lot of ways. My kids don't watch television at all. We don't even have a television now. The television we had had been bought by my parents when I was a teenager. I'm 34 now, so it's probably about 20 years old. The picture tube still worked but everything was tinted pink. Not so good for watching James Bond. But I digress. Sweetie Heart told me thins year that she wasn't going to make a list of things she wanted because she wanted to be surprised at what she received this year. Sweet Girl is too young to realize that she could actually ask for things. So, even though, Sweetie Heart sometimes feels left out at school when her friends are talking about or playing a game about a television show, overall I think she does great about not having things.
But this year some big ticket items are needed. I did get a deal on a couple of twin wool comforters ($45 each with shipping!!) and a flannel duvet ($15 with shipping) but the rest will be small. Are tree isn't empty by any means though. Because we live so far away it gets filled up with all the gifts they will get from grandparents and other family.
Back the the original topic. So this year will be small again. There isn't much "extra" money and I really want Christmas to be about Christ, his life and teachings. I want my kids to grow up knowing that the reason we are celebrating is about Him, not about Santa and presents. We still do the Santa thing, but Santa only fills their stockings (which are actually custom plates with their name and birthdays on them) and gives them a present at the end of their bed that they can open whenever they wake up. The rest of the gifts come from family and friends.
We have a budget and will stick to it!!
We spend only the cash we have, we do not buy on credit!
We look at what we are wanting to buy and think about if it will really be used.
Doing all this takes time. It also makes us really think about where our money is going. Are we being good stewards of the monetary blessing we have been given? Or are we junking up our lives with things we don't need? It also makes me think about what other things we could do with our money. There are so many needs in the world. If each of us cut back on our excessiveness how could we change the world?
Along these lines I saw these and wanted to share:
If you're looking for ways to make a difference there are so many to choose from. Look around they are everywhere. Consider adopting a child from Compassion International. Read Shannon's story about her trip to Africa with Compassion. It really makes you think about how much we have and how a little personal sacrifice can change a life.