You may recall that even a lover of all things Christmas like myself can get a little Scroogey this time of year. But there are some things that are kind of awesome about the holidays, especially when you live paycheck-to-paycheck.
- The house is cleaner. I know, you’re all like, “What the what?!? How is your house cleaner?” Where we live, it can get ridiculously cold this time of year. The house we rent has no insulation. Anywhere. Plus at some point, someone thought putting a 3 seasons room on the house, without closing it off, would be an awesome idea, because who doesn’t want 12 degree air blowing in for 4 months? We
can’t pay for oilchoose not to support the oil giants, so our only heat source is a wood stove in the basement. This means when it’s bitterly cold out, the play room is around 50 degrees, and the bedrooms are around 55 during the day. (We open them up at night and close off the heat to the other parts of the house so the kids stay warm at night.) So we bring some snacks and toys in the basement, and hang out down there. This means the mess is completely invisible to visitors, and I look way better than mediocre because my house is so neat and tidy. It’s like a present in and of itself.
- Less is more. Punkin is amazing in many, many ways. But one of my favorites is that she asks for so little, and is genuinely happy with whatever gift she may get. She even clarifies to Santa that he doesn’t have to bring the expensive gifts. Example, here is her letter to Santa this year (*names have been changed to protect the innocent):
- Cozy times around an open fire is Hallmark in the making. And since we spend most of our time downstairs near the wood stove, we’re like a Bing Crosby Christmas song brought to life.
- Just letting it go. Sometimes, that’s what you have to do. If the gift to Great Aunt Flo wasn’t expensive enough, you learn to shake it off. You know why? Feeling gratitude is a thousand times better than feeling bitter and slighted. Shopping for people who are spoiled? Not nearly as enjoyable. Making that pot holder with the kids’ hand prints that you know will be used by Grandma for every hot dish in the history of forever? Awesome. And watching my kids grow up appreciating whatever they may receive? Not gonna lie, it makes me feel like a pretty good mom, despite the current state of the bank account. I love that we can wrap hand-me-downs from family and friends, and my girls are just as excited about those as I was about my swagger wagon (which, coincidentally, was also a hand-me-down of sorts).
- Christmas really is about faith, love, family and friends. We don’t have cable. We barely have TV. Which means our kids don’t really know what the latest toys are, and thus far, they don’t care. They get excited about dinners with their Grandparents, the Christmas play at church, making homemade presents for family, and spending time drinking hot cocoa by the fire. Added bonus? Seeing their joy reminds me that I should feel that way, too. And then I remember how incredibly blessed I am to have them. And our health. And a place to live, even if it is cold. And coffee in the morning. And my swagger wagon. And that
pitcherglass of sangria for the rough days with Goo. And the Nerd who is so exceedingly awesome, we’re actually more in love now than when we got married 8.5 years ago (insert gag reflex here).
So if you’re broke, snuggle your babies, hug your family, get nice and cozy, and send Great Aunt Flo a piece of coal for Christmas. You’ll feel much better afterwords.