Turkey day is over, and the stockings are hung. The dash to the big day has begun. Black Friday was a success and cyber Monday has great deals. I heard on the radio that they are expecting more money to be spent than ever before because there are more days in between thanksgiving and Christmas. Everyone is buzzing about the toys, gadgets and vacations they have bought for their family and suddenly you find yourself feeling sad or even stressed because you know dang good and well there is no way you will be able to compete with any of it.

This season there is a lot of happiness, but it is easy to find ourselves in a season of comparing if we aren’t careful. We want our children to experience as much excitement on Christmas morning as possible. Every parent is focused and engaged in the shopping frenzy and at least 90% of them are stressed to the max because their families Christmas list and bank account are no where near the same.

When I was a single mom, I hated the idea of Santa because my kids Santa brought them a $40 toy while other kids at school had a Santa that brought them a hot wheel or something much more lavish. Only once did my kids ask why Santa didn’t bring them what they had asked for, but it was still enough to feel sad I couldn’t compete. Credit Card debt sky rockets in the United states during this time of year and then we spend the next 12 months or our entire tax return paying it off.

Then there is the Christmas Parties. This is a whole different monster for some. We all see them plastered all over Facebook and some people have a different party to go to every weekend for the next 4 weeks. Meanwhile, you haven’t ever been invited to one much less four or five. Why don’t I have as many friends? Is it because I don’t drink? I must be boring! Oh, the list goes on with questions we have asked as to why we don’t have a calendar jammed packed with social events the entire month of December.

Friends, all these fears of finances, social evets, children’s happiness with their gifts are exactly the opposite of why we even have this holiday. When Christmas is more stressful than joyful, we are doing it all wrong. Something I came to grips with 2 years ago. After being worried SICK that my kids wouldn’t have enough packages under the tree and that instead of excitement, they would experience disappointment, I decide I was doing it wrong.

So much of mine comes from guilt of not being able to do much for years that now I waste time and energy trying to make up for that. That is mistake number one. Mistake number two was feeling like I was missing out on fun with the social events because I was home with my kids or going with my husband. My oldest has said NUMEROUS times, “Mom I love it when you are home and spending time with us during Christmas break.” I don’t have to make up financially because I am making up in quality time. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying. If you have a jammed packed calendar and that REALLY TRULY makes your entire household happy, then that is awesome. Just make sure you have enough time to carve out some special memories with the people who will be there 5,10,25 years down the road.

The bottom line is this! STOP COMPARING!! Stop comparing your Christmas list, Stop comparing your bank account and stop comparing your social events with everyone else around you. In six months, your kids will likely forget what they got and be ready to ask for what they want the next year. My kids have named a few things they want this year but the number one thing they have asked for is our baking day and their Christmas Eve jammies from Santa. They want to make Christmas cookies and watch movies. We make this way more complicated than it needs to be.

Here is my encouragement for everyone one of you. If you are having a get together and you know someone who doesn’t have a place to go, invite them. If you are at home with your kids and feeling uninvited, get in the kitchen and make a mess baking cookies and watching a movie with some hot cocoa and marshmallows. Lastly, whether you are, or YOU ARE NOT stressed about money, DO NOT buy everything on your children’s list. There is value in not getting everything we ask for. The memories you make inside the walls of your home will have a much bigger impact years down the road and the number of gifts under the tree won’t matter then either. There is no better way to celebrate the life of Jesus than spending time with the ones you love and giving thanks for what you DO HAVE!! Don’t lose sight of all your blessings ang JOY while chasing after someone else’s. You my friend are LOVED and well taken care of!

Blessings,
Lindsay

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