What is Christmas Costing Your Family?
I’ll go out on a limb and say that many of you, reading this, have the bulk of your holiday shopping taken care of and you have Christmas gifts squirelled away all over the house. (or other gifts if you don’t celebrate Christmas?)
But for many families, every year, Christmas is about more than what presents they will purchase – it’s a source of angst and uncertainty as they struggle to find the money they need to purchase gifts for their children.
The Cost of Christmas: Time lost to worry
Most years, the Moody family avoids being one of that particular gang through the generosity of strangers in unexpected ways, and quick before-Christmas jobs. This year, though I have been working online, I recently had some major health/emotional issues that pushed all my deadlines back.
Though disappointed, and struggling to find money for presents like so many others this year, I couldn’t help considering the cost of Christmas, the cost measured in more than presents under the tree: Obviously you can’t forget the presents … but …
- How many of those presents are so special they are played with, enjoyed, treasured, after the joy of discovery rubs off?
- How much time do you spend working to afford it all?
- How much time did you spend WITH your family, doing things to celebrate the season?
- What Christmas (or other holiday) traditions did you practice or begin this year?
- What’s something special you did with your family to celebrate the season?
- How much time do you worry about buying more presents, any presents?
- How much peace of mind do you lose to Christmastime, rather than joy?
And here’s the thing that made our problems seem so inconsequential this year – hearing about a little child in the hospital, whose mother feared they wouldn’t have survived a horrific accident. In years past, we’ve faced the prospect when Logan was in the hospital. I remember thinking Christmas was ready, because my child was alive.
This year, money might be tight, but even as we explained to Bobby and Andy that presents would be light, Andy was already looking for his piggy bank, to “give some change to families that need it.” I have awesome little guys!
I think we’ll be fine. My kids like and want presents just like every kid, but they do understand that Christmas is about so much more than presents. Even though money is tight, Christmas is still an amazing season of blessing celebration for us – and I’ve never been more thankful for the amazing blessings He has given us in this.
Giving to Others – Reversing the Cost of Christmas
We always have a stash of dollars, sometimes quarters, and sometimes whatever can be scrounged off the car floor, to give to the Salvation Army and others taking donations during this time of year. The kids always like putting their dollar or quarter in the bucket and ‘giving’ to others, helping others.
Social Media Ideas: Giving at Christmas
I asked folks on Facebook to tell me their best ways of giving during this season. Just in case you weren’t sure you could afford to give anything this year, not everything in their answers was about giving money either:
- Jackie says they do shoe boxes through Samaritan’s Purse, give to the Salvation Army, and adopt a local family. They also give to random charities online every year.
- Marilyn says they give through church, and she paints for people who can’t afford gifts, as well as support the Salvation Army.
- Muttley gives to “Dog’s Trust” and also to heart research all year round, and gives a donation at Christmas to help the aged.
Some other ideas might be:
- A gift of dinner to a family in need?
- Shoveling a neighbor’s sidewalk; baking them cookies; showing you care…
- Volunteering for a charity hard-hit during this time of year.
- What about you?