I love this time of year, I really really do, and thanks to my mom’s genius plan that she put into place years and years ago, I appreciate the holidays even more. When I was about 12 years old, my mom put her foot down and decided to take a more realistic and sane approach to this often crazy and stressful time of year. As children, we never had buckets of money laying around. My dad worked as a school teacher and my mom choose to stay home with us and on a school teachers salary, my mom made up for our one parent income by making most of our clothes by hand, maintaining a year round garden, making all of our food from scratch, and planning our family entertainment around board games or playing music together. With that being said, Christmas time for us meant being frugal, yet still joyful.
My mom’s “genius plan” that she came up with all those years ago was quite simple. The kids would get a few gifts, and my parents would donate a little bit of money to a favorite charity. On Christmas day, when the aunts, uncles and cousins would arrive, we would have a White Elephant Gift Exchange, and some of my favorite holiday memories consist of our entire family laughing hysterically at the funny, thoughtful, or silly gifts that each family member would wrap. Did any of us feel deprived? No way. The relief of NOT purchasing extravagant or unnecessary gifts for every person in our family was wonderful; and instead we all felt good about buying one simple or funny gift to share and many of us have followed in my mom’s footsteps of giving to a favorite charity. Of course, and at the holidays especially, I miss my mom terribly; however, I’m so grateful for all that I have learned from her and every year I hold my children a little tighter, grateful to be here with them and hopeful for many more Christmas day’s together with the ones I love.