Sunday, December 14, 2008

My favorite thing about Christmas

Giving presents is definitely my favorite thing about Christmas. I love buying presents; I love wrapping presents; I love seeing someone's face when they open the present I've given them. I love seeing my tree with presents under it. That is something that I am definitely not taking for granted this year. Because, you see, last year, there weren't many presents under our tree. Last year I had just had Ava, was not working and not getting paid because I didn't have disability insurance, but we had made ourselves a promise that we would not go into debt because of Christmas. So we had to humbly ask just about everybody if we could be excused from gift-giving, just for one year. We didn't get our kids anything, although Santa did bring them one gift each; we gave our parents pictures of our kids. Even now, as I'm typing this, I am crying, because I remember how heart-broken last Christmas made me, because I couldn't buy for the ones that I love.

It means so much to me that this year we're in a better place. There are things that we are choosing to keep from last year. Santa will still only bring each child one gift. We LOVED how they spent the whole day playing with their new treasure; they weren't overwhelmed by a living room full of things that they threw aside. They were so thankful and so excited for what they had in front of them. My kids are still young enough that they don't know the ugly greed that can come with the holidays, and I'd like to keep it that way as long as possible. I'm very sure that there will come a day when they'll want more and when we'll want to buy more, but for now, one gift is enough.

This year shopping for presents has been even more fun than in the past. Not going into debt, while still buying presents, is such a freeing feeling. I know exactly how much I can spend on each person. I plan ahead, look for sales, and strike while the gettin's good. I should have kept a tally of retail prices as compared to what I've paid. Several presents that I've bought I got at like 80% off! I wish I knew how much I've saved. Oh well..Maybe next year! In a strange way, it even feels good to have the ability to tell people no. People have asked if I wanted to go in on certain people's gifts, and I've had to say that I'm sorry, I just don't have any more to spend. I can say it confidently this year. There's no pressure, no guilt. I am in control.

This may be my favorite Christmas so far. I will enjoy watching people open the presents that I've paid cash for. Come January, Christmas will be a memory, and monthly statements will NOT remind me of what I overspent!
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