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Taking Control of Your Christmas
*a guest post by Jennifer Slattery*
Most of us parents, even the most frugal among us, have an inner tug to splurge come Christmas. To ignore our budgets so we can get little Johnny that perfect toy that will create that perfect Christmas memory, or perhaps, in a box all tied with a bow, show the extent of our love. Because honestly, who doesn’t want to see their children’s faces light up, to hear them squeal with joy?
After years of irresponsible living, my husband and I had landed in a financial mess. We’d wracked up $35,000 in debt, and our credit cards were maxed out. And Christmas was just around the corner. We had two choices—take out another card and bury ourselves further, or make some drastic changes, even if that meant turning off our cable, eating in every night and… not buying Christmas gifts that year.
That hurt. A lot—to know our daughter would suffer because of our sin. But sometimes it hurts to do the right thing, and we knew, should we continue the way we were going, she’d hurt even more when we lost our home, or our vehicles, or destroyed our marriage.
So what’s a mom to do when she desperately wants to give her daughter something special for Christmas but doesn’t have the money to do so?
I decided to make her presents. Luckily, she was still young, at that age where ordinary items like toilet paper rolls and pinecones made the best toys. And she loved Polly Pocket dolls and Barbies, so I decided to make Barbie food from bake-able clay.
Day after day, as she napped, I’d pull out the clay and create chocolate chip cookies and hamburgers, lettuce and all. I made pizzas with pepperoni and bunches of grapes, lovingly crafting each and every item.
It’s funny, but that was one of our more memorable Christmases, and oh, what joy I experienced, every day as I worked on her gift. She may not have known how much time and effort I put in, but neither did she feel deprived. I suppose because, when it comes down to it, Christmas is largely how we make it.
We can get stressed out over all the presents we can or can’t afford to buy. We can build our children’s expectations until they believe they need that latest and best video game or electronic device.
Or, we can step back, scale back, and simplify things a bit. Many times, when we do that, when we peel back all the fluff, we realize our Christmas isn’t dependent upon what we’ve wrapped under the tree.
That Christmas so many years ago taught me something: We don’t have to allow Christmas obligations and expectations control us, our families or our finances. Rather, we can—and have chosen to—take control of our Christmas.
More about Jennifer:
Author and speaker Jennifer Slattery is the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, a ministry that helps women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. They do this by facilitating events designed to encourage, empower, and uplift woman and helping them experience a deeper relationship with their Savior.
Find out more about them and their events by visiting their website at WhollyLoved.com or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more or book them for your next women’s event.