Tuesday, October 16, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like...

     ..... Christmas, and it isn't even Halloween yet.  At least most of the retailers waited until the first of October to start putting their Christmas decor out for purchase.  This morning I even read a blog about creating an organizer for Christmas shopping, decorating, baking, sending Christmas cards and planning a New Year's Eve party.


     Don't get me wrong.  I'm not a Scrooge or a Grinch.  I love Christmas.  I love the season ~ and I especially love the reason.  What weighs on me today is the pressure from "the world" to buy buy buy and outdo last year's gifts or cards.  To commit to doing so much that you actually have to create an organizer for it, or buy a book to figure out how to "untangle" your holidays.

     I was going to include a link to those blogs, but decided not to.  I realize that their intent was not to add peer pressure on me.  Their lives are so different from where I am right now in mine, and if they can $afford$ to do all that then hooray for them.  I don't envy their lives and don't want to sound like I do, but really...

     ... when did Christmas become about things?

     I will probably send the last of the Christmas cards that I purchased at an after-Christmas clearance sale six years ago... if I can afford to buy stamps.  Stamps are now $0.45 for one first class envelope.  Sending a card to the forty family and friends in my address book will cost me about $18.00.  Roughly the same amount as a good brand of dog food for Trooper.

     I did cave in to my Hallmark Ornaments addiction earlier this summer when I had a little bit of money and got two ornaments that were continuations of collections I had already started in previous years. There is no 12-step program for it yet.  I confess to being an 'old-school' holiday decorator and love to use ornaments purchased for sentimental reasons.  A theme tree, while beautiful [and yes, I did have a garnet and gold tree two years in a row ~ Go Noles!] just doesn't spark the memories for me that unwrapping an ornament my mom purchased for me in 1976 does.
Photo source... if you speak Finnish... if not use Bing Translator

     I may do some holiday baking for local friends and family to save a few stamps, but since I'm on food stamps, I will just have to see how the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer are looking when I make that decision.  Thank God for food banks at the local churches since they have helped me several times now with making meals and those dollars stretch.

     [Speaking of thanking God... ]

     This humbling experience I've found myself in the last several months ... without any income or a vehicle ... has left me feeling extremely grateful for all that I have, and for all of the people in my life ~ those I know and don't know ~ who have come to my assistance when I have reached up for help.

     Christmas this year will be spent not with money or gifts or things.  Christmas this year will be spent being grateful for everything I had, everything I have, and everything I will have again.  Christmas will be spent being grateful for the people in my life... known and unknown ... and how much I have been blessed by all of it.

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
~ Colossians 3:17 NIV ~

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