Today in Charlotte, NC...
So today I take my children up to Toys R Us to redeem gift cards my friend-girl gave them last year for Christmas...yeah it took about 11 months, but we hadn't lost any money on them and they were still good. Anyway to the point....We pulled up to the Toys R Us and the parking lot looked like Christmas Eve, the aisles were packed it was crazy. My children already know you have a $15.00 budget a piece and no more than that, well Grandmother went with us and she upped it to $20.00, so we have $20.00 a piece to spend ($15 gift card + $5 from Grandmother). As we walk through my youngest is having a hard time finding anything in his budget. He says to me these other people must not have a budget cause they have buggies full of stuff. I say to him maybe they do, maybe they don't maybe they will put it on CREDIT and pay for it next year who knows. I saw folks in the same aisles talking about lay offs on the job, about people being sick and out of work, but steady putting things in their buggies (shopping cart for those of you who don't say buggies). So we find something in our budget(s) a PS2 game and a Ironman nerf blaster. So where is the RECESSION, what we were the only one in TOYS R US on a budget? What if....everyone just runs up the credit cards, max out the check cashing store limits and all that. I guess that gives job security for the people at the check cashing store, and the credit card companies. No not really because didn't CITI just announce a layoff of 10,000 folks yesterday? I think so. The Joneses may have a great Christmas or so they think. So many times we take Christ out of Christmas and then we just have the gifts, the happy children and the parents that are worried about how long it will take to pay for little Daniel & Brooke's' gifts that they just had to have.
So what do we do for Christmas at our house....???
We have a running tradition that the children pick out three items along with the IDEA that Christ received three items...so surely they don't need more than that. Then we give them a budget based on our financial situation at that time. This year only one "bread winner" so only two gifts this year. Youngest one wants skates and one psp game heh that keeps it affordable. Oldest hasn't figured out what he wants.
I guess we should note that SANTA doesn't come to our house and never has...that is a whole 'nother Blog. Then the morning of Christmas before we even open a gift my husband leads us in prayer and we read the Bible then we open gifts eat breakfast and leave to go and deliver meals from the local church to the sick and shut in. That to our family is what Christmas is all about. The Joneses may not do it our way, but our works just fine for us!!
Before you comment about how we saved up all year for this in our Christmas Club at the Credit Union, or my children have to have this and that or wait this is one...SANTA brings it and they would be heartbroken. Children are resilient and if you keep them up on what is going on with your life believe me I bet they understand when "this year is a little different". Remember it is Christ birthday and we give gifts as symbols, we aren't celebrating them. If SANTA comes to your house...that is up to you, but maybe you tell the children that SANTA had to pay for the higher gas this year so he couldn't bring as much or He had to cut back on toys this year and even had to lay off a few REINDEER so it will be OKAY.
I want your children to be happy this year...really I do, but maybe happiness can be defined a different way than money, gifts, and toys!!!