Those two words just don’t go together…or do they?
This Christmas the Starks family did something that they have never…NEVER… done before.
We stuck to a budget. A small one. We had to. We didn’t have a choice. There were no resources to pull from to make the Christmas any bigger than it was. Oh, we’ve had years in the past where we’ve set a limit and stuck close. We’ve even had years in the past where we determined that we would only spend cash and did so. This year was different. We had limited cash available (our van broke down and had to get fixed and my hubs and I are both full time grad students…well, technically I just graduated two weeks ago, thank you very much…) which limits our spending capabilities on any given day let alone during Christmas for four kids.
And guess what…it was good.
Did I just say that?
Yep. I’m actually thankful that we had to stick to our budget because for years I’ve been saying to the hubs how I think there’s just “too much.” I mean, they don’t even play with half of what they get within one week of getting it. Why are we wrecking ourselves and our finances to give them things they aren’t completely enthralled with?
So, this year was different. Yes, it was a forced detour from the usual. But it was necessary. Because now we’ve seen and felt. And now we will change our future.
I was a nervous girl for a few weeks, though, thinking that they would be so upset and think that Santa had deserted them. I had visions of my kids walking down the stairs to see if Santa had come and hearing them say, “Is that ALL he brought?”
Guess what…not once.
I suppose it helped that for months I had been telling them that Santa, too, was in a recession and they shouldn’t expect everything on their list. Or maybe it was the fact that we often spoke of how Christmas is about Jesus and his gift to us and that anything else we get doesn’t matter in comparison. Perhaps it was the fact that the hubs and I “shopped” differently this year. Knowing we were on a budget, we purposely didn’t go off the list. If our kids hadn’t specifically asked for it, we didn’t get it. And if we did, we searched for the sale. And often got it.
Whatever it was, as we were finishing opening presents, we were pleasantly surprised. Our children seemed happy with what they got, grateful for their small treasures, and even willing to share.
Those are all good things 🙂
Hmmmm….maybe we should tighten the budget even more next year?