It’s December 18th and so far I’ve only spent $6.00 on Christmas. And no I haven’t accidentally left any zeros out of that number. Three dollars of the six was spent on a little 3 foot Christmas tree. I took pity on my 13 year old son who appears kind of worried that Santa may not come without some kind of decorations. (Yes, he still believes in Santa. We all do.) The other three dollars was spent on a small bag of legos and a science kit.
It’s obvious I’m not the one who is helping the economy this year. Like a lot of other people, we just don’t have it to spend. I’m really only planning on spending another $10 or so. And that’s it. I feel blessed that my husband just got a job and I’ll have a few extra dollars that don’t have to go to the basics, like eating.
We’ve done this before. So although we try our best to avoid being broke at Christmas, it has happened. You could say that we as a family have lived many of the past 7 Christmases poor. While the rest of the world was living high on the hog, when the economy wasn’t to blame for everything, we were still often broke. I remember one Christmas when my son was 7. That was only 5 years ago and probably just about the time that everyone had more money then they knew what to do with. We on the other hand often found ourselves without a lot of cash. Santa, however, did manager to deliver a few gifts to a happy 7 year old that year. Gifts that had been purchased at the local thrift store for a few dollars total.
Although being without a lot of cash at Christmas makes it harder, it’s not sad. Christmas isn’t about stuff. It never has been. It’s about something much more than stuff. Everyone has their own understanding of just what that something is. By not having a lot of cash at Christmas time, it allows time for lots of baking, lots of playing, and lots of bonding. And adding these kinds of things into Christmas can actually put a lot of meaning into Christmas. The kind of meaning that can’t be bought.
If you’ve found yourself short of cash this year, don’t fret. There’s a lot of us in the same boat. Here’s a few things that we do to save money and add to the Christmas spirit: 1. Most of our gifts are bought at thrift stores or yard sales. Often times, I get new or barely used items for just a few dollars. 2. We often drive around neighborhoods looking at the lights. It’s a fun family tradition and it adds to the festivities without costing a lot. 3. We’ve actually popped and strung popcorn for our trees in the past. It’s fun and takes a bit of practice to get the hand of it.
Whatever you decide to do this year for Christmas, take a moment and be grateful. Be grateful for what you do have, whether that’s your health, your loved ones, or something else. Show the real Christmas spirit.