Most of you who celebrate Christmas I am sure the date on the calendar has been sneaking up on you quickly. It has for our household. I know most of my other friends with children are also becoming more and more stressed the closer it gets.
Christmas is a stressful time for many for many different reasons. Some worry about the impact the holidays will have on their budget, or if they will even have enough money in their budget to get everyone something for the holidays. Some worry if they will have a warm meal as the weather gets colder, or even a place out of the cold to rest their head.
My husband and I have been in most of these situations ourselves over the years, and have met many others dealing with the same issues during the holidays.
With how much the media pushes all these new toys and gadgets, and making sure everyone gets some new gift they likely do not really need, it makes me wonder how this world would be if instead of focusing so much on spending all this money on things that in the grand scheme of things don’t matter if we focused on the the things that do.
Many churches in our area do the shoe-boxes filled with gifts and useful items to send to children in different parts of the world who barely have the necessities. I love this idea, but why stop there? I am all for bring the joy and laughter to those in need overseas, but why can’t we do both. Most people shop for those boxes at places like dollar stores because we all know doing that many of those boxes it would end up being pretty pricey.
Why not while you are at it go to your local Women in Need Shelter, Homeless programs, Food banks, and see what they are in need of too? Many of those things they need you could also grab at a dollar store for very little money and donate to the programs that help the people who need it in your area.
Now, I am not saying that no one does these things, as I am well aware that people do, but I am hoping we can spread that giving nature to others who would otherwise not think of doing something so simple, or don’t realize there is a need in their area.
I am planning on collecting a few things with my children, although M, being only 1 will likely not understand, through the weeks and then donating things I know the different programs in the area needs with my boys at the end of each week.
As a young girl I was part of our local Girl’s Club and every year we would collect and purchase toys and gifts for adults. Then we would take a night and wrap them all. Then close to Christmas we would gather all these gifts and take them to the local shelters and Women and Need where likely these children wouldn’t be getting gifts and even more likely the parents wouldn’t be either. I remember how their faces would light up and they would be so grateful even though it wasn’t a lot.
There are many people struggling all year round, and Christmas brings out the giving nature in many. Hopefully that giving nature will stay with people all year through.
If you are struggling to be able to provide for your family don’t be ashamed. We have been there too. Use the resources that are there for you. That is what they are their for. Use their assistance to help you pull yourself back up, keep going, and do what is best for your family and yourself.
We aren’t rich by any means but we are better off than we have been in years. We have house to live in, two car that run decently(knock on wood), our two sons are relatively healthy (eczema, allergies, and Reflux) as are we. We have beds to sleep in, and the essential toiletries to last us more than a day (try checking your local toiletry bank, some people can’t even afford toilet paper and deodorant).
I try and be as frugal as I can be. I do admit that I sometimes get a bit carried away with shopping at the dollar stores sometimes. It all seems so cheap, but once you have a lot in your cart, not so much. I tend to grab and then go back through and put the majority back.
I like to hit up our local Goodwill stores, yard-sales, thrift-shops, consignment sales/shops, and Co-ops to get good deals for my family, and for good deals on gifts for holidays and other occasions. I told myself that this year I would slowly grab a few things here and there cheaply and save them up hidden in our closet (Shhh, don’t tell our oldest son) for Christmas and our boy’s birthdays.
So far, so good, I am almost through shopping for everyone, and haven’t spent much at all, and it is still the beginning of December. Woooo.
Now to try and get it all wrapped before the night before Christmas hits. That is the hard part for me. I hate wrapping and boy does December move fast. Plus homeschooling I don’t get much time without the boys and my husband being beside me.
With all this time and money saved it leaves me with the time and money to get some helpful items, and toys to donate. My boys don’t care if their toys came from Goodwill or the likes. They don’t care if they are used and not new. They just care that they are fun.
So this Christmas I challenge you. If you are struggling, try not to beat yourself up, you are doing the best you can. Use the help where you can get it. Try not to worry about getting your kids the newest toy fad. If you are blessed with enough time and money to, help out some local families, or non-local families in need. You never know what people have been through or are going through, or when and if the same could happen to you.
Happy, (early) Christmas,
The Momnipresent Mother