Sunday, November 5, 2017

Holiday Spending: Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas

With Halloween behind us, this subject has always been one that I stress when it comes to spending money for the holidays.

peanut butter cookies
Halloween is where I start as I look for the best treats for the least spent.  Before home baked treats were banned, I would bake brownies and peanut butter cookies for the gremlins and hand out special cookies to each child that came to my door.

As a young adult with children and a small budget, the holidays were always stressful for me because it meant buying presents for nieces and nephews with money I didn't have.  It took away from what I could spend on my own children.  That situation didn't matter to my husband's siblings because we were given a list of toys that were just not within my budget.  We were looked down upon if we didn't come up with those presents and similar ones for the adults in the family.

Don't get me wrong.  We were not struggling financially but my first husband could only be described as a miser when it came to money.  He made a good salary but I was only allowed to spend what he thought was appropriate so that he could squirrel away in the sock drawer what was left over.  This side of his personality was never seen by our families.  I don't want to ever demean someone, but my point in revealing this fact is that this is not the true meaning of the holidays.  If you resemble this miserly person, take heed and read on.

china tea set
I know it is better to give than receive and I was brought up that way but to a different extent.  As children we were given hand-me down presents among various smaller bought games or toys.  Mine was a doll that wore clothes that were kept from when I was a baby and a real china tea set that were my mother's and her mother's before that.  My big present one Christmas was a desk that my grandfather had made in the basement.  I had that desk until after I was married and it was one of my most treasured pieces of furniture because of the sentimentality of the work that went into it.

The best Christmas I can remember was the one that I had with my second husband when we were trapped by a deep freeze into spending Christmas Eve into Christmas Day at one of our homes where we didn't actually reside because the presents for all seven children were hidden there to be brought up after the children had gone to bed.  It was so cold we had to pack the children up hoping that the car would start in the freezing temperatures to get them to where the presents were hidden.  Each child got something special and some smaller things but nothing extravagant.  But it was the happiest Christmas of my life being able to give with no expectation of receiving in return.

cookie tray for the holidays

In each household every family has a different budget to follow.  Sometimes even baking for the holidays can put a strain on a strict budget.  So in the coming Thanksgiving and Christmas season, be thankful for what you have been provided by God and share it with your loved ones within your means.  If that leaves some left over for others go for it and give that donation or bake those cookies to give to your friends and neighbors.  You don't need to spend money to feel bountiful and happy.

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