by Texas Homesteader ~
A tired low-income parent is struggling to make ends meet. In silent anguish she wonders “How will I provide Christmas this year?”
Wait, Provide Christmas? Let’s take a look at that.
Redefine Your Perfect Christmas
Here are a few things to think about when defining your perfect Christmas:
Are you worried about how to provide Christmas?
Are you feeling trapped by tradition & expectations?
Think about your holiday – what’s special for you about Christmas?
Has it become different from the joyous Christmases past?
If you could, what would you change to realign the holiday with your values?
It’s time to return this beautiful holiday to its proper joyful place.
Are Christmas Traditions Becoming A Burden?
Is it just me or does it seem holiday commercialism has really gotten out of control?
I mean, when you think back to past Christmases don’t you think about the days when children’s eyes lit up over the magic of it all? And the excitement of opening a gift that held that cherished doll or a new baseball glove?
It seems now it’s more represented by expectations of a higher and higher stack of gifts each year. And incredibly expensive & elaborate gifts & electronics even for very young children.
And did I REALLY just see a commercial where a 7-year old girl sitting on Santa’s knee was demanding a new car for her busy lifestyle??
Now I’m not saying that gifts aren’t fun – they are. It’s wonderful to be able to give that perfect gift. And Christmas is a beautiful season of sharing.
But when did it turn from the simpler times of the past to “what’s in it for me” and frenzied attempts at Martha Stewart-caliber holiday decorations? It’s all just gotten so crazy.
Christmas Doesn’t Come From A Store
It hurts my heart to think there are so many people out there who don’t see this beautiful holiday as a joy, but an obligation. A highly-stressful time when expectations & time demands grow more & more unattainable each year.
And all across America there are many families with very little income who are barely putting food on their tables, yet they’re stressing over not being able to ‘provide Christmas’ for their families.
It’s almost as if many assume that Christmas itself comes from a store.
Again, gifts are fun and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying that aspect of the holiday.
What I dislike is that such a beautiful season of sharing and caring can be so heavily marred by the $ almighty buck $.
Christmas traditions are different for each family. For me as a Christian, the Christmas season is special to me primarily for the joy I feel over the birth of my savior Jesus Christ.
It’s also a time RancherMan & I feel compelled to gather and surround ourselves with one of our most precious blessings on earth – our family.
Our Own Simplified Christmas Traditions
I’ve been trying to pull back from the hustle & bustle of an overly-commercial Christmas for quite a few years now.
But I’m not going to lie, it was an uncomfortable move for me.
We were hoping not to disappoint our loved ones with our shift down in the commercialism aspect of Christmas. But to us it was important enough to soldier through.
RancherMan & I now make almost all of our gifts ourselves. And the gifts we do buy are very modestly priced. (yes, even for our precious grandbabies!)
It’s taken deliberate action to push away the commercialism of the holiday and return the joy of Christmas to our home.
RancherMan & I enjoy decorating for the holidays but elaborate decorations have been replaced with Christmas decorations that are simple yet tasteful.
Our tree is tiny but sentimental. Our gifts are inexpensive but straight from the heart.
Don’t Be Afraid To Scale Back The Holidays
It was initially uncomfortable for me to scale back our Christmas holiday. To scale back the gifts, the decorations, the commitments.
But once things were scaled back I saw relief on the faces of other family members. They’d wanted to scale back too, but were afraid to do so.
Don’t be afraid to scale back your own holiday. In all probability those around you will be relieved.
Other Christmas Posts You Might Like:
- Is It ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’?
- Holiday Cooking Shortcuts, Tips & Recipes
- A Small Christmas Tree Can Be BEAUTIFUL!
- Keeping The JOY In The Christmas Season
- Want To Keep Christ In Christmas?
- Thinking Of Adding A Pup To Your Home This Christmas?
- The Truth Behind Perfect Facebook Posts
- Don’t Judge The Need Of Others
- Homemade Gifts We’ve Given
- Gift Ideas For Mom
- Gift Ideas For Dad
- Must-Haves For Any Home Cook
- Easy Last-Minute Gifts For A Group
- Christmas Gift-Idea Roundup
- Repurposed Denim Hand Warmers
- 8 Eco-Friendly Gifts Your Friends Will LOVE!
- Low-Waste Christmas Gifts We’ve Received
- Cute Santa Sleigh Made With Candy
- MYO Snowman Treat Jar Gift
- Keeping Track Of Gift-Card Balances
- Experience Gift Ideas
- Easy Homemade Jerky
- Candy Snowman With Gloves (optional CASH!)
Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas:
- Gift Ideas For The Eco-Friendly Mom
- Homemade Gift Ideas
- Homemade Chai Tea Mix
- Gardener’s Hand Scrub
- 3-Ingredient Beeswax Lip Balm
- Repurposed Denim Pocket-Sized Hand Warmers
- Rustic Repurposed-Denim Baskets
- Cedar Solar-Light Garden Feature
- Rustic Bois d’Arc Solar Light
- Photo Wall Hanging Using Reclaimed Barn Wood
- Making A Small Gift Box With A Greeting Card
- Make a Customized Label With Plain Ole Shipping Tape
- 8 Environmentally Friendly Gifts For Your Friends
- Low-Waste Gifts We’ve Rec’d & Loved
See All Our Eco-Friendly Posts
Low-Waste Gift Wrapping & Presentation
- Reusable Gift Wrap Ideas
- Low-Waste Gift Baskets
- Make A Cute Gift Box Using A Christmas Card!
- No Wrapping Needed: Experience Gifts!
- Fastest Zero-Waste Gift Wrapping – Using Cloth
All Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’
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My husband and I were just talking about Christmas presents and he told me that it’s looking like it’s not going to be able to happen because bills are so tight. It is so sad to know that we as my daughter’s parents can’t just say “Christmas will be no problem.” In no way is she spoiled to the point where she expects presents but still times are so much more tough now then when we were younger. It’s really depressing but I just feel like even if we don’t take care of her, she’ll get things from family and friends. Just the fact that we are able to be with friends and family makes it worthwhile. One day she will get that when she is older than her 3 years.
The holidays can bring about a clash of feelings sometimes Brittney – the joy and excitement of the season clashes sometimes with our desire to create “THE” perfect Christmas for our family – especially when little ones are involved. But perhaps this year is an opportunity to focus on the vision of Christmas that YOU want for your own family. Especially with a younger one, perhaps this year you can focus on the sparkly excitement of it all – the lights and decorations. Or perhaps focus on the familial involvement – A special night at Aunt Sue’s house helping with decorations, or making easy but fun desserts with grandma, (thumbprint cookies anyone?) etc. Don’t buy into the advertiser’s monetary version of what you should struggle to accomplish at all costs during the holidays – strive to make it custom-made & personally yours. (HUGS)and wishes for a very Merry Christmas from RancherMan & me! ~TxH~
My Dad died last year and this year… well, I’m having a hard time with the commercialism Christmas with the memories of my Dad in the back of my mind. On top of that my husband recently finished school and we have 4 young boys to somehow buy presents for, while being ever so careful on our tight budget. There are so many reasons to cut back and help people realize the Christmas is more about giving of yourself than with monetary things.
Thank you for this post!
The thing that I lament the most is the advent of the gift card and how nobody really wants a “gift” they just want money to go buy something they want. I absolutely abhor the commercialism – every talk show, news show, commercial, etc. is about getting something or spending on something. This year I’ve tried to stay away from the news as well. I don’t want to cast too many stones though because as strongly as I feel about Christmas being about giving LOVE, I don’t always find ways to extend myself to those that are really lonely and in need.
You know Karen, I know different people celebrate the season in different ways. Some people get giddy over over-the-top decorating, others totally enjoy the thrill of the hunt for that perfect gift. Some love to shower loved ones with many gifts and some prefer to make their gifts themselves. All can be delightful parts of the holiday, but when the meaning and beauty of Christmas actually gets REPLACED with the consumerism of it all, or an already stressed family budget is pushed to the limit because of perceived gift obligations, well to me that’s missing the point entirely. Of course the advertisers share in that blame too – their one and only job is to part you with your money regardless of the circumstance and they love to almost guilt you into it. The way I see it – sure, go ahead & shower that loved one with a gift from your heart, whether it be purchased or made by hand. Just make sure you’re doing it for the right reason – from LOVE, not obligation. ~TxH~
Beautiful post! Brought tears to me eyes! There are so many ways to give simple gifts or jestures of good deeds
You are so right, I don’t know how families can afford all that they buy and then how they pay for their credit card accounts. Each year we have everything paid for before Christmas, sometimes it is tight but that’s ok we are used to that. We make a lot of gifts, but then I lay-by lego for my husband and son for 6 months before (great toy shop). But you are right it isn’t about presents its about Jesus, family, and sharing. I just love giving to my family and my friends and get such pleasure from it, but there are ways to do this that doesn’t break the bank. Thanks for sharing at Good Morning Mondays, blessings.
Tammy, this is a lovely post. I couldn’t agree with you more. I went shopping for Christmas Decorations at Michael’s Craft Store this year and I didn’t find Christmas there amongst the glitter and glue. I left with out spending a penny. I couldn’t wait to get home and cut some fresh evergreens from our backyard and put them on the table in a mason jar. Christmas is not about commercialism but every turn would like to convince us different. For us, it’s always been about the memories we make together as a family sharing the beauty of the season with loved ones and those in need. Merry Christmas to your and yours and thank you for this post. Blessings, Deb ( Dandelion House )
This is a sweet post. I think it’s important to reflect on what we remember from our own childhood Christmases. It might be one or two gifts. But mostly it’s making cookies with mom, sledding with the cousins, ice fishing with grandpa… These are the things that are important. Thanks for posting. Hello from Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop.
My husband and I love to carol during the holiday season, especially to our neighbors (which is how we met some of them). (o: It was sad to hear though that many had never ever been caroled to before!!! I love this simple act which brings the Christmas spirit alive.
My thoughts are very similar to yours. We have never gotten our children more than 2 or 3 presents. Some years everything was handmade, and other years we were blessed to be able to buy some things they asked for. I’ve been trying to clean out and live a more minimal lifestyle so the idea of piles of things for Christmas is a stress factor more than a joy.
We do enjoy lots of music – at home, participating at church, and more! That is a big part of Christmas at our house. Merry Christmas to you and yours.
I enjoyed this post and agree with you wholeheartedly. This year even more so. I lost mama. It is in these times that you realize things are not important. Our faith in our Lord and Savior number one. Family and friends next. Things last! Thanks for this post.
What a beautiful post and I am so glad you linked up to the All Things Christmas Link Party! If you hadn’t I would not have seen this! I am subscribing to your blog! We have 6 children and are hosting a German exchange student for 5 months. He was totally enthralled with Christmas in the United States. For them there is no real celebration of Christ’s birth – they just have a tree, a few presents, maybe go to church. Then wake up Christmas morning and begin a new day. I totally agree that the materialism part of Christmas has become overwhelming, as well as all the decorating. When did Christmas begin in July? Crazy. It is all about money – Unfortunately the citizens of the US are pushing our Lord out and most people are allowing it. Sad but true. I really feel like HE is coming back to get us soon, I just hope HE takes me!! God’s blessings to you and your family for a healthy happy new year. Trisha
Trisha, I think there are many people who wish to unplug the materialism aspect of the Christmas holiday but who feel trapped by tradition & expectation. It was unconfortable for me to start this ‘less-is-more’ for Christmas rolling but it’s gaining steam with my family – many of which actually made their own gifts homemade this year. How wonderful! Again, there’s nothing wrong with gifts – they’re fun if you partake for the right reasons & stay within your financial means to do so. I’m truly sad for those people barely putting food on the table & afraid they are letting their families down by not being able to do the full-blown gift exchange. OMGoodness, let’s put the JOY back is this blessed holiday! ~TxH~
Hello Tammy, it’s so sad how commercialized Christmas has become. It seems that many people have forgotten the real meaning of Christmas. It’s nice to give and receive gifts, but the nicest thing of all is to spend time with family.
I remember when my first husband was alive, but disabled. I prayed about putting my beautiful children in school and going to work, but time and time again I heard no. We were blessed through the church, and my children knew there was no Santa Claus making those time less stressful. My children had said that the birthdays and Christmases they had those two years were the best. I believe it was because they were thankful to have something, anything, they had something, and that was enough. At this point in their lives they struggle to find what they want, for they know that materialism holds nothing.
My husband will be working Christmas Eve, and Christmas, but we have each other, our health, a roof over our heads, a place to sleep, food, and clean clothes, we are happy. I only wish others appreciated the simple things in life as much as we do. Thanks for sharing once again on Tuesdays With a Twist, your one of my features this week
I actually would prefer to exchange a few handmade things and maybe volunteer at a church or soup kitchen for Christmas but being an only child, and living 8 hrs away from Mom, I have her here every year and we have a traditional Christmas.
I have always tried to make Christmas about the real reason not the gifts. We make gifts and buy some but it’s not about money for sure. We try to always find a way to give to others in need and that is an important part of our holiday. To me it’s about my faith, my family and love! Thanks for sharing your thoughts at TTF!
We really enjoy the kids seeing presents under the tree Christmas morning, but it doesn’t matter if we bought thousands of dollars of toys (we didn’t) or bought a few things second hand and made the rest (we did), by noon they’ll be happily playing with the boxes! 🙂 I’m all for making sure the Spirit of Christmas doesn’t get lost in an avalanche of presents! Great post-as always!
Oh yes it is too much about gifts but not giving it saddens me. I would much rather give food to a family I know in need and give grocery store gift cards then things people do not really need and hopefully more people will realize that. You are not alone in your thinking. All the best in the season of real giving. B
It’s a natural thing to give gifts that WOW your children, but it seems if you give that huge special expensive gift this year, you can’t go back next year – you’ll have to out-do yourself every year. Then there’s the obligation felt to give to everyone you know (and even some people you DON’T). Kindness & generosity in spreading the holiday spirit can be done without putting yourself in debt. I think it’s the expectations that have gotten out of control – both those dished out by others as well as unrealistic ones we burden ourselves with. ~TxH~