Oh, Christmastime. The most wonderful time of the year. Blah, blah, blah. Mistletoeing. Hearts glowing. Yadda yadda. One week and counting until everything is expected to be complete and in place. I am actually in a relatively unique position this year. I am finished shopping! This is true for two reasons: 1) I’m actually done shopping! 2) My Christmas budget is gone.
My first response to that realization was “crap!!!” What if I need more stocking stuffers?! I still haven’t gotten anything for my brother!! Big Sister just added something to her list!!
My next response was “Whew!” I’m actually feeling pretty relieved that the Christmas dough is gone. The bulk of my “necessary” shopping is done. Big gifts were purchased months ago, and I had already decided that the bulk of our Christmas was going to be DIY stuff anyway (stay tuned for posts about 2 projects in particular). I also feel relieved because it takes the pressure off with regards to last minute shopping and feeling the need to make my children’s every wish come true.
I absolutely try to fulfill the bulk of my older child’s wish list. She generally makes pretty reasonable requests, and the ones that aren’t (e.g., “I want one of each American Girl doll”) are immediately, though gently squashed (“Baby, do you know how much it would cost to get one of each doll? Over $1000. Do you have that much? No? Ok then.”) The baby is still too little to be making requests…she’ll get what she gets, but not having the ability to get Big Sister everything she wants is, in my opinion, a blessing. Not just for me, but for her as well. She will grow up knowing the value of what she has, the value of a dollar, the difference between wants and needs, and, hopefully, the true meaning of Christmas (aaaaand, cue Silent Night).
This week at our house will be filled with lots of hustle and bustle. I will essentially live at my sewing machine, and I don’t think I would have it any other way. Yes, life might be a little easier and slightly less stressful if the Christmas (and overall) budget was a little roomier, but I think, if that were the case, I would find stress in other places. We have, in the past 4 years, gone from putting a large proportion of our “needs” on credit cards to having only one, seldom used card with a low limit. Our kids are clothed, fed, sheltered, and loved, and we will have a very nice Christmas. We are still working on managing our monthly expenses frugally and intelligently, but we get better all the time.
Bottom line: I’m glad the Christmas shopping is over and done with. It will give us time to focus on the importance of the season and enjoy each other and our extended family. Shopping will briefly resume at the beginning of January when we prepare for “Christmas II: The Voyage West”, but until then, I will sew and bake and paint and create with the stuff that is at hand. I dare say that some of the creations will be a step up from store-bought anyway…and they will be filled with infinitely more love (and maybe some blood, sweat, and tears…though hopefully those will wipe right off).