There is fresh snow falling outside my window. Last year we lacked a really white Christmas and I can remember feeling so sad and lost without that dusting of snow. This year so far has made up for it and I have reacted in that oh so mature manner of grumbling every time I have to clean off the car. Which currently has been daily.
But with Christmas a week away and my stocking stuffers in Dollarama bags next to my desk I find myself realizing about the stuff in life that matters and the stuff that in 20 years no one will give two damns about.
It’s been a hard lesson I had to teach myself this year. To step back and not worry so much about how many gifts are under the tree, if they are big enough, fancy enough or good enough just that there is stuff under that tree come Christmas morning. I made it my goal this year to have only one really big Oh My Goodness gift and to have at least one second-hand gift for each of my children and I did succeed. For my 3-year-old his Oh My Goodness gift will be from Santa and I hope will fuel his spirit for his deep delight in the jolly old elf as his energy and excitement certainly lit my holiday joy this year.
It’s been a tough year and I have been trying like crazy to get perspective on everything. Christmas seems to amplify the stresses that already exist as a parent and while you can say no on a day-to-day basis for every whim and desire that doesn’t fit the budget you have to live and die by Christmas makes it harder.
I’ve been reflecting on the fact that as a kid I never knew we didn’t have much. I know we didn’t eat out every night and probably ate more than my fair share of fish and peas but I didn’t see myself as lacking anything and yet I spend many hours of my life worrying my kids don’t have that same innocence about them. We have a roof, we have food, we have treats, clean water, heat that turns on when it is cold, and there is never lacking for things in our tiny home. Sadly these things don’t often strike a chord of how lucky you are when you are 3, or 7, or 9. Even if you have parents to remind you that somewhere in your city is a child who isn’t cared for as much as you are.
One of the joys of childhood is that you can engage in the ID of I want it all, I want it now and I don’t understand why you just can’t give it to me.
I don’t sugar coat it for my kids…it’s just not in the budget right now I’m sorry.
Oh how I tire of those words coming out of my mouth though.
It isn’t like we haven’t tried to make being budget conscious fun. We’ve started Family Friday where we eat a fun homemade meal and watch a family friendly feature together on Netflix. We throw our rule of eating at the table out the window and eat on the couch and floor in front of the t.v. just hanging together and being with one another. So far it seems to be a success because of the fact that they kids ask about Wednesday what we are going to do for our Family Fun Friday.
So I guess in some ways we’ve been successful at re-directing the ways we have fun.
The thing about Christmas is you never want to have your kids build up in their minds something amazing only to let them down. My kids, for as tight as everything is, have been re-assured that everything is going to work out and that Christmas WILL happen. They just have to have faith in their dad and in me to know it matters and to make it work.
Sometimes though I don’t think they quite believe me.
Luckily I started shopping in August :D.