Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Not Needing to Limit the Glut of Christmas

One of my friends wrote a post about Limiting the Glut of Christmas. She's pretty awesome; one of those amazingly open and honest, caring and sharing folks. Yeah, check her out.

We've been in the same boat, of teeter tottering between what's enough/ too much, focusing on the right things, giving (and receiving) with the right heart.

My intention this year was to do the Four Gift thing again: something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. But we'll see what happens with that. I have not bought any presents. Not one. (well, okay, one if you count the kid tool set that I bought at a yard sale 5 months ago, and hid under my bed.) I'm usually VERY good about buying little things throughout the year, for Fred, the kids, and all of the extended family. But this year, I put those extra quarters into scrimping and saving for gas money to go on that family vacation. Totally worth it. The kids won't miss the "extra" stuff under the tree... but that family time this summer will stay in their memories.
Anyway, Fred switched jobs, after years of indecision and prayer over the issue. And, while this job is actually much better, it's a temp-to-hire position... plus they moved him to a 12-hour night shift, which totally stinks. Being a temp means we have no insurance (for the first time in our 13-year marriage!) and we get no vacation pay. So the 9 days that he is scheduled off for Christmas, is all without pay. *gasp* In case you haven't guessed, any money is going to pay our next house payment and utilities.
Now, before you worry about us poor folks not having gifts, let me assure you that we have TOO MUCH stuff. This little "cottage" is crammed with books, clothes, toys, and trinkets. I'm constantly purging. We're not going without. We're still rich, by the world's standards. For crying out loud, we have two running vehicles. Amazing, really.
The kids will also get their normal gift-time with my parents... and the other grandparents send money, so we'll pick out some gifts with that.

All this to say, being totally broke really takes the pressure off. :) I don't have to worry about getting to the stores at a certain time to get the "magical gift" that will make Christmas a success. There's no debate about how much is too much, because we know we'll get a little of what we can, and that's enough. More importantly, the kids know that. They don't make Christmas lists. They don't ask for things (in part, probably because we don't watch TV, therefore they don't see commercials. Ah, the power of movies over shows!)

Best of all, I'm spending less time worrying, wrapping, spending, planning... and more time being with them. More time thinking about the Real Reason. More time being thankful for what we already have. More energy into celebrating Advent, than teetering on the commercialism that surrounds Christmas.

We have years of abundance, and that is nice. We do buy gifts for the kids, and extended family and friends, when it's possible. But it's nice to relax and be okay with the lean years, too. Rejoice in every circumstance, right? And, somehow, even though this seems like such a risky time for us, I feel very at peace with it. I can only assume this is a supernatural peace, as I'm usually a rather anxious person. ;)

How do you handle the glut? Is the balance hard for you? Are you having a year of abundance, with full grain stores, or a lean year?


Suzanne said...

Aw, thanks for the linky love! I understand the lean years, but gosh, you are handling them with much more grace than I have. So very glad you have a peace. May it last the whole season through!

Deborah Jean said...

Wonderful post!
Keep the Faith... that's what it's all about isn't it?


sara's art house said...

I love that- want, need, wear, read. What a great idea!

Jerri Dalrymple said...

We have had a lot of lean years, and what we have kept in practice that we learned from those years is that the kids each get 3 gifts because Jesus got 3 gifts. I quit trying to spend the same amount on each child a long time ago and decided that's just not important. We also do stocking stuffers, which I usually have stocked up on throughout the year, especially from the after-Christmas sales, but this year has been too busy, so I'm starting from scratch. LOL
Over the last several years we have seen our girls become more dependent on traditions such as our Advent Calendar, a book we use to supplement our calendar, and daily Bible readings that we created traditions out of. That's the best gift of all!!!! :-)

Soaring High said...

I think we've always had lean years when it comes to giving our own gifts, but our kids lack from NOTHING!! I have more difficulty with coveting and wanting to get "stuff" for the kids that, although they might like it, don't need it. I garage sale and thrift store shop all year around for gifts. (your sale produced Abigail's birthday present.); )
We've always done 3 gifts too. Usually an inexpensive book is one of them because they like to read or be read too. Our budget is about $20-25 a kid for all their gifts and stockings.
I don't want people feeling bad either for us. We are happy and I've learned (with great difficulty)to be content. Grandparents also shower the kids with gifts and I happily let them.

Arato Girl said...

This is a lean year for us, too. We have grief, loss, love and joy all rolled into one this year. But our eyes are open to see Christ better. That makes the year richer than any Christmas before. :)

Love this post. It's nice to know there is no pressure in our family about gifts, that we're all just excited about spending time together.

Simply Stork said...

yup...and a quick view of "charlie brown's christmas" always help us storks remember what it is all about...we start the season with it every year. My 17yr old still enjoys it too :o)


Simply Stork said...

and we do the three gift thing too...we started it when the kids were young.


Anonymous said...

We've had our lean years and our years of plenty. I've learned that buying the kids more "stuff" just means we spend all year telling them to pick it up, put it away or share that with your sister. :) We buy our kids 1 to 3 gifts each. Sometimes they really want something and it consumes their entire budget so they only get one. This year the older kids only get one each because it's something I know they've really wanted or needed, and Timothy has 3 I know he will enjoy. We want for nothing, and for that I feel very blessed.