As children, we dream of Christmas mornings filled with brightly wrapped presents under the tree, the excitement of ripping the paper, and the surprise of what lies within. As parents, I suppose you could say we see everything from Side B. We’re suddenly the ones responsible for creating the magic of that morning. But what happens when money is tight, as most of us have experienced, and you begin to worry about disappointing your children? We know Christmas is more than the presents. But we still want to provide that joyful experience for our kids. Let me tell you my Christmas story.
I remember one particular Christmas when my sister and I were little, probably about 5 and 8 years old. My parents didn’t have much money that year for presents, and they began to worry about disappointing us. A few months before December, my mother started making things for us. There were no dollar stores back then, but they bought a lot of our presents from the dime store. And they wrapped every single item individually – even the batteries! Right up to Christmas morning, they were nervous, thinking we’d feel let down. To their surprise, we were astounded by all the gifts spilling out from under the tree. I remember what great fun that was, ripping all that paper. It seemed it took forever to unwrap everything. Afterwards, we proclaimed it the best Christmas ever.
If you’re facing a Christmas on a small budget, take a minute to think back. What was Christmas to you as a child? I’ll bet if you really put yourself into your memories, you’ll realize the focus as a child was not “How much did mommy and daddy spend?” More than likely, you were filled with joy simply because family was all together, sharing the experiences of giving and receiving. Yes, we do think back to the special gifts we’ve received, but are the most astounding ones the most expensive? Not usually. The ones that really stand out tend to be the ones given with heart. So no matter what your financial situation this Christmas, enjoy it. Enjoy it with everything you’ve got. If you’re filled with the joy of the season, your children will surely sense it. That is the secret ingredient that creates the memories they’ll hold dear for the rest of their lives.
To all my readers, I wish you a wonderful and blessed Christmas. May the little ones let you sleep until 6 a.m., may the batteries be all the right size, and may you hug your kids to your heart’s content!