Facing the lean Christmas season with a brave face

Christmas gifts.

Christmas gifts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 I am feeling relaxed, in the “groove” and absolutely TERRIFIED of the upcoming season. It is before me, behind me and starting me right in the face as I look out at my neighbor’s flashing, pulsing, hot-air induced Christmas scene, which I love in a psychedelic sort of way. If I don’t have a seizure then we’ll consider this Merry season a huge success. Bless her energetic energy towards this Festive Season. I can’t see a baby Jesus anywhere in that flashy yard, but that’s ok. It’s our job to bring the baby to the manger, so to speak, isn’t it?

My kids are foaming at the mouth at the thought of decorating the place up with festive sparkles and doo dads. I suggested going on the cheap and decorating our yard with a homemade snowmen Nativity, baby in manger and everything! But …the kids weren’t biting.  The original four snowmen (from a week ago) are losing their heads to the unexpected melting trend and the kids are just imagining their Nativity ending up with no heads.  Apart from my very enthusiastic and wildly creative snowman yard scene idea the kids really want to go all out.  I LOVE Christmas lights and decorations but I figure, let’s let everyone else do it in the community and enjoy the fruits of their labor. They remain truly unimpressed.

What to do? Pull out the inside decorations (the lone tree) prematurely with the hopes that they will be distracted from the outside aspirations and put it all up together. I’ll make a big deal out of how creative and wonderful their attempts are …and then rearrange it at nights when they aren’t looking. Nah, I don’t do that kind of thing. I like seeing what they come up with. It’s usually unusual and charming.

Lean Christmases. I love them. Ok, I hate ’em but love them at the same time. This Christmas is the leanest, money-wise, that I can remember in years…maybe since having kids. Prices going up, kids getting older and wanting more than the trinkets they’ve gotten in the past…like not having underwear spilling out of the stocking or socks padding up their roomy stockings. I have thought for years how much I don’t like the commercialism surrounding the season, but quite honestly I like the gift-giving within reason, and we are always within reason and a tight budget to boot. I find a good magical gift-giving an appropriate part of the festival, that is, Christ’s birthday. Jesus deserves a party, we throw a pretty festive ‘do and all try to make it a beautiful act of worship of our God. At least, that’s our plan for the whole Christmas festivities and stuff we do. We do it to point it to our God, who gave himself to become a helpless, beautiful baby, born to save US!!

We don’t need big flashy things, though they are fun. We don’t need brand-new gifts, as this year many of them are second-hand and God directed. I am nervously excited to see how our awesomely inexpensive and second-hand gift giving will go over with the kids. We’ve hinted at it since the catalogues and glitz and hoopla have appeared everywhere this November. We are making gifts for the other special people in our lives…my very own experiment, that I hope that it isn’t a disaster. I am truly looking forward to what we can make of this lean Christmas.

Even the turkey was given with love. How cool is THAT! God provides in the most mysterious of ways and since our expectations were low, these blessings speak really loudly to us.  God is Good!!

Having a “lean” Christmas should not be a downer but an opportunity. It could be an opportunity to actually become leaner and lose a few extra pounds instead of gaining at Christmas. How about, “Mommy goes lean for Christmas!”??? Now THAT would be surprising. No, these opportunities to make Christmas what it really is all about. Celebrating our Savior and doing it with our own special flavors. All of us will have Different Christmases than the other, no? Make yours special but make it special with Jesus in mind.

How do you make do with what you have even if the kids don’t understand yet, due to age that you aren’t made of money? Or maybe you are made of money. Do you get everything your kids want?