When I was little, we did not have much in the way of money. I realize it was a simpler time, but my mother would guide us to the things she could afford to buy us for Christmas and play them up ahead of time instead of us thinking we had to have everything we wanted. Of course, my sister and I loved gazing thru the Sears catalog and dreaming. When Christmas Day came, we forgot about all those things and always loved the few presents we got. Do not fall into the trap of thinking you have to give your children everything their friends are getting. Give them what you can reasonably afford without going into debt (which you will most likely live to regret!) and create fun holiday time in other ways by baking together, stringing popcorn for the tree, making construction paper chains, playing games, or sharing your baked goods with an elderly person, and so forth. Make memories instead of playing into today’s materialism mindset. When money is an issue, try to get one special thing they want and fill in with small dollar store items or even garage sale finds. One particular Christmas I got a peg board and a toy ironing board to go with the little iron I had and a couple of other small things. About 50 years later, a few years before my mom died, she mentioned that particular Christmas and how she had always felt so bad that she and Daddy couldn’t get us a doll or much else that year. I just looked are her and said, “Mama, I have always remembered that as one of my favorite Christmases. I wasn’t expecting any of the things I received. The Lord took care of it in my child mind.” That taught me a lesson with my own children—do your best with what you are given, and trust God to take care of the rest.
—Cathy, Fort Worth, TX