Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Spirit

As I drove my little girls to the movies yesterday, I listened in awe as they talked about Christmas, Santa, Jesus. The excitement that filled the car was overwhelming, and the Christmas spirit shone brightly on their sweet little faces. A few years ago, we simplified Christmas a lot....we have never bought our kids lots of stuff for Christmas....they each get one gift from us. Of course Santa does bring them ONE gift also, and then they get a gift from both of their grandmothers. They get a gift from their cousins and aunts, but NPayne and I do not get them a lot of stuff. We don't need a lot of stuff, and to be quite honest with five kids....five gifts is a lot of stuff already! Anyway...a few years ago, we simplified in our commitments and decorations. We only put up our tree and stockings, we said "No" to many events that would have been fun but also would have been "one more thing on our plate". Since then, we have kept it simple. NPayne, however, always always always puts lights on our house. It's nothing big and fancy, but it looks nice and puts big smiles on the children's faces. This year the weather has been so bad, and we realized that none of our outside lights were working....so....there were no lights. Cal kept asking "Dad, when are you going to put the lights on the house!" I offered to go get some, and then NPayne told me he didn't want to buy any right now; because we had forked out a small fortune on repairing not one but both of our cars in the last two weeks....his Christmas bonus was spent on car repairs and not where it was intended on gifts for the kids. I didn't argue with that, but secretly I was a little sad each time I drove up to our house and saw our lovely Christmas tree all lit up in the window but no lights outside surrounding it. I was mostly sad for the kids....especially Cal. I was disappointed that we had to use the Christmas bonus on car repairs, because that would mean once again a Christmas without funds for me to buy NPayne a nice gift. I always get him something, but it's usually just socks and underwear....I know....I know......you're jealous...contain yourselves! This year, I had big plans; but those are on hold. I had already bought him one gift....not socks and underwear....something nice but not too exciting. My main gift will have to wait...his birthday is in January, so I'm hoping to get it then. Through my discouragement and disappointment, I started thinking about us a few years ago and what we would have done....if we had had to spend this large amount of money on car repairs a few years ago....we would have had nothing left to purchase gifts for anyone or even groceries for our family. I told NPayne and really truly felt thankful that we had the Christmas bonus to use, and that I have taken a "full time" job this year; so that we were able to repair our cars (NPayne's still needs some work, but it runs), purchase our kids gifts, and still have groceries until next payday. I won't lie....our financial situation has been bleak for many years....and we have had a rough time getting by for the last several years...when we gave up the credit cards, we still have to manage our money and budget very carefully, and we don't have a lot in savings but there is a little in savings; I am thankful. I am thankful, thankful that we have a house to live in, that we have cars to drive, food to eat, clothes to wear, coats to wear, water to drink, children to support, money to donate....I am thankful. It may not be a lot, but it's a lot to us; and it's a lot in comparison to so many in the world who don't have a house to live in, cars to drive, food to eat, clothes and coats to wear, water to drink, children to support, money to donate. It's a lot....a whole lot. We were driving home from the store on Saturday....the five littles and me....when we drove up to where we could see our house....guess what we saw..... lights sparkling on our house. There weren't as many as NPayne usually puts on, but there they were. He found some in the garage....leftover from a Christmas float he helped with a few years ago, and they were perfect...simple but perfect!

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