Over the years, especially at Christmas, I have seen so much stress within families on who to buy for, what to buy and spending money they can’t afford. With the economy the way it is something I am hearing more and more and thought I’d share a little story with you.
I remember when I finally got away from my first husband, my son and I were lucky to have a roof over our heads and Christmas was just around the corner. Well I was feeling pretty bad that I didn’t have the money to buy any presents for him and at this time in our life we were starting over with nothing but us and the clothes we had on our backs.
So not to be without the spirit of the season, we went in the woods next to the house we were renting and chopped down a small tree and got that put up in the little living area that we were staying in due to how cold the winter was. We look back at that now and know that we had guardian angels watching over us as all we had was a little wood pot belly stove because we couldn’t afford to buy the oil to heat the house.
Well, what we did was went back out in the woods and gathered wood that was laying out in the woods and we kept going out everyday as there was not much snow yet and we knew we needed to get as much as we could find. At this time, we had no clue how much we needed but just kept gathering until we had quite a bit in the other room of the house.
I remember we didn’t have any decorations for the tree – so we took paper and cut out snow flakes and used twist ties to hang them on the tree – then we also popped up some popcorn and we strung popcorn till the bowl was all used up and then used that to finish decorating the tree. The tree really turned out nice that year considering and now we can look back and smile.
For Christmas, we set around and sang Christmas songs and played board games and cards all nite and I have to say that was one of the most memorable both by my son and I.
So the moral of the story is that you don’t have to have alot of money to have the true spirit of the season – it’s what you make of it. With that in mind the same goes when exchanging gifts – it’s not the price tag on the gift that matters.
If you want to take the stress out of exchanging gifts, I have a few suggestions to try as I know it’s hard to buy for someone that seems to have everything or for little ones that don’t need another toy. This is what I did one year for Christmas for my ex’s nieces and nephews – I baked a one layer 9″ cake and then bought things that I thought would be fun to use for decorations and yes even frosting.
Then what we did was had all the cakes laid out on the table and each got to make Jesus a birthday cake – decorated with whatever they wanted to put on it and it was actually amazing at the talent that we had in the family and didn’t even know about – now this could also be done on a smaller scale with cookies to leave out for Santa.
The other thing that has been fun to do over the years is the white elephant exchange and this has gotten very popular – well most of the time you pick a number and pick out the gift you want and then your gift can be taken by the next person or pick a new gift. And this is really fun to do.
This year at our garden club, we did a little different twist and I really liked this game and this could be done with with your white elephant gift. There are many games out there that are called right/left games – there usually is a story with the words right and left in them and as someones reads the story – you pass the gift to the person to the right or the left to you. Try this one ….. http://www.santalady.com/xmasgame/lftrt.html
The best part of this is that you can set a limit on the gift (ours was $10.00) and then you only have to buy one. You get someone to read the story and try and keep up with all the right and left words in the story and then when the story ends, you have your gift. For another one to try…… http://www.santalady.com/xmasgame/leftright.html
One of the members of the garden club stated that the kids even do that with an ornament – they all buy an ornament and then read a story with the same right/left in it. So take the stress out of exchanging gifts and get back to enjoy the simple basics of enjoying your time together.
Have a wonderful Holiday Season everyone and Merry Christmas.