Below is a post I wrote in 2011. Eight years seems like such a short time ago and yet a long time ago, too. These same types of thoughts have been on my mind recently, but from a different perspective. Those thoughts will make their way to a post soon. For now, I pray someone can relate to where I was in 2011 with one child away at college and two seniors and one sophomore in high school.
From a former blog, post dated December 10, 2011:
I did it! I finished all our Christmas shopping in just 2 days. I must say that a couple of weeks ago, I was completely stressed about Christmas. The thought of trying to scrape money together to fill our living room with presents for our 4 children stressed me! I found myself dwelling on how we always had done Christmas in the past and how daunting the task ahead of me was for this year. After all, we have Brooke in college, Blake and Cody are seniors, and Dale just turned 16. The money we put out monthly for tuition, school expenses, insurance, food, and so much more is far more than we can “afford” and we usually have more month than money. So to add Christmas presents to that was enough to produce a migraine!
Then, one evening as I was stressing and browsing Pinterest, I ran across a saying for Christmas giving…
The idea is that each child receives four…YES THAT’S ALL…FOUR gifts. They can ask for whatever they choose in each category, but they will receive…
Something they want.
Something they need.
Something to wear.
Something to read (or listen to).
We sat down with our kids and talked about Christmas and how we needed it to look different this year for several reasons. The first is that Christmas is about the ONE true gift that God gave us when He sent Jesus to be born as a baby in Bethlehem. God has blessed everyone in our family with the gift of salvation. THAT is what Christmas needs to be about. We also explained that money is tight (they already knew that) and we found this new way of planning for Christmas that we hoped they would appreciate. Being the wonderful children that they are, they were all for it! They each made a list in the four categories. What a blessing to get their lists and not feel the pressure of the world to provide them with hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of stuff that in the end will mean nothing.
So two nights ago, Doug and I set out with lists in hand. How great it felt to be able to shop stress free. How awesome to realize our children all asked for things that will help them grow in their walk with Christ. How amazing for God to take us to just the right stores and show us just the right deals! Truly, I’ve prayed in the past for money to be able to buy more and more. (By the way, His answer to those prayers was usually “no”.) This time around I found myself praying for God to lead me to items that would please my children AND would get us the most for our money. I found myself excited once again about this Christmas! We didn’t finish shopping Thursday, so I went out this morning to finish. I was able to find perfect gifts for our kids and for our parents. It feels wonderful to be able to say I’m finished! Whew! I’m so thankful I won’t need to go out into those crowds again!
As I sat down to relax a few minutes after returning from town this afternoon, I felt a peace about Christmas that I don’t know if I’ve ever felt before. God is so good! I’m so thankful for His intervention through, of all things, Pinterest! Now, we will all have this blessed season to enjoy each other without the pressures of MORE MORE MORE.
“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” James 1:17
More thoughts on this from a GiGi’s perspective soon!