It’s the most wonderful time of year, that’s what all the songs tell us and as a child there’s nothing quite as magical as the Christmas season. And as an adult, I’m kind of sad that this year I’m just really struggling to fully engage that spirit. It’s been a long year, but a very rewarding one. So I’m not sure what my issue is. But I’m doing my best to become as festive as possible for Eli. I want him to have Christmases to remember and not that his parents are bah-humbug kind of folks.
Putting up the Christmas tree and listening to Christmas music has helped me A LOT. Like, at least I’m not longer thinking about boycotting the celebrations, that’s a huge step in the right direction. And I was able to knock out more than half my shopping in one day helping out a small business and a family member ALL in the same stroke – THAT also really helped to put me in the spirit. Picking out gifts for other people are fun, wrapping them is not. So, I enjoyed that Farmhouse Chic Boutique wrapped them all for me.
But trying to help other people to know what to get ME? Which has been a MUCH bigger problem than I ever would have thought. I’ve been hit up by three different family members needing ideas on what to get me…and answering that question is HARD. Because honestly, I don’t really need or want more “stuff.”
So I started thinking about what I really NEED, what would help to alleviate the ever growing stress in my life? Well, there’s the obvious get down to one mortgage…but I’m not about to ask any family members to buy my house, though it’s quite the funny thought if I do say so. And asking any of them to buy flooring just seems…rude. So, I scratched that idea as quickly as it came. I do need new work clothes – and clothes is a common gifted item. So, I dropped my sizes and preferred styles/stores in a message and that seemed to help. But they wanted more ideas and I just didn’t know.
In talking to my sister I realized James and I aren’t the only ones in this boat. We’re all trying to downsize a bit, them because they’re not in a house and James and I because we’re blending households…neither of which is an easy task. Both of us joked about a REAL gift would be money to go toward our student loans or other bills. Sadly, this is super frowned upon in everyone that I’ve talked to.
This got me thinking, why is gifting financial help such a bad idea? For kids, I get it. They probably have plenty of items on their list, especially if they’re like Eli. His birthday is in June and as soon as his birthday passes he’s starting on that Christmas list. But as adults, when we need or want something throughout the year we tend to just get it for ourselves…which means when the holidays come we’re left scrambling to try and help people know what we want. So, why is a bill fund or money toward student loans so bad? Even if it’s only $25 or $50 for some bills that will pay it in full for a month. In fact, as I’m sitting here writing this I’m thinking starting a college fund for Eli that we add to every Christmas is a pretty stinking good idea…y’all help remind me to tell James that idea when he gets home!
So, this year I’m asking everyone to think about what your friends and family REALLY need/want. Do they REALLY need another set of PJs? Maybe they do, I know plenty of people who could use with some updated comfy clothes. But if you’ve given them that every Christmas, birthday, Easter and any other holiday possible…they probably don’t need another set at this time. Maybe think about spending that money on something they REALLY could use, even if it’s money to go toward their electric bill for the month. It’s the little things that count, but sometimes that little help may be bigger than we could ever imagine.
What are your family’s go-to Christmas gifts, ESPECIALLY for those hard to shop for people?