When I lived back in Michigan (home), all through Christmas my dad would complain to me about how much money he spent and how broke he was and then come Christmas expect me to gracefully accept a $100 check without feeling incredibly guilty as his daughter. I never wanted him to be broke! He always claimed he was so miserably broke. Christmas is about children and celebrating the reason for the season: God and family memories. It’s not about gifts. We were all already given the gift: LIFE! And I’ve always said that even in my younger years. I’ve often reminded him the same. Yet, the message my grandpa emailed me a few months ago still lingers in my mind. Again, the guilt they both instill in my mind. To them, I’m still a child, their child…
And apparently to them, I should have never showed up to Christmas at their house without a gift to give in hand because “they deserved it because they did so ‘much for me'”. —truly sad way to think this time of the year.
You should never do that to your child. You should never make them feel like they need to come into your home during a holiday with gifts in hand, even if it’s just a cheap scarf from Walmart. That type of guilt is just ugly and God knows this is not the way it’s supposed to be. This is not the reason for the season.
Especially as college students, swimming in debt (that they never, ever helped put us through as parents-by the way), you’d think they’d “get it” and have some sort of understanding. My mom did-she always understood. My dad? Never. And it’s apparent now that my grandparents felt the same, or at least my grandpa did. I can’t speak for grandma since she is no longer with us anymore.
Even now as we are older, with jobs and bills, we still have debt. Student loans, especially. We provide and live for our children because we will always have bills. We will always owe someone money. There will always be a payment to be made. But as if this is anyone’s business, really. It’s just madness on my mind, I call it. Crap that shouldn’t have to be explained but always feels better to get it out. In Texas you can get a big house for a good cost. It’s different here.
And as a side note: I never asked for a big house, fancy cars or designer purses. I’m pretty simple and basic. Born and raised in a trailer park, has made me (as an older adult) appreciate the things I have and I take care of them. I cannot tell you the last time I bought myself a pair of shoes. My winter boots are falling apart at the seams; yet, I still buy for my children. Because the sacrifice I made when I had them was that they come first. In ALL circumstances. I buy my clothes from Target. I despise the mall. And I always go straight to the clearance racks. My tight ass dad taught me that (that’s a good thing, though!). I don’t ask for or wear fancy jewelry. I don’t ask for the best of the best vehicle to drive. I don’t drive a Lexus, Cadillac, or BMW. I drive a Toyota mom van (basic version-which I love) that I begged to trade in my fully loaded Honda Pilot (leather, sunroof, GPS, DVD/Bluray, Towing package, etc) for. I don’t get manicures, and if I do it’s a rare occasion (a holiday is coming up and we’re taking family photos). I get pedicures now only because I don’t have the time to sit and do them myself anymore with two kiddos in tow. Which I’ve always, always preferred to do them myself-anyone that knows me can tell you that. My nail polish collection is insane (haha). There’s no “me time” anymore unless you want to count grocery shopping at the 3 to 4 different stores I have to go to in order to get all the food our allergy sufferers in this household require. That, my friends, is what costs us a pretty penny. The food that goes on the table…
I buy for my kids.
And maybe I go overboard? Maybe we go overboard? Maybe I need to step back and allow them to realize the true value of having something nice. Maybe I need to start them young? I’ve done a lot of thinking lately.
As a child growing up in a trailer park, attending high school in a low income community, I mostly borrowed and wore friends clothes who’s parent would buy them brand names from the mall.
One Christmas before I got my driver license, I remember my mom being able to buy us clothes (a lot) from American Eagle. I finally got my blue puffer jacket that I’ve been begging for for that winter season, some jeans and a ton of shirts. It literally felt like Christmas. I took care of each and every single one of them.
Anyway, my point is that Christmas is about celebrating why we have Christmas. Some people don’t even know what we’re celebrating. Can you look around at your beautiful lit tree and the presents under your tree and the lights on the houses outside and ask yourself “why are we celebrating this holiday?” “what makes it so important?” “what is the true meaning of Christmas?”
It is our duty to continue the real reason Christmas is celebrated. And it is our duty to explain this to our children.
It is not our duty to guilt people into spending money they don’t have or going into debt because gift giving has taken over our society as a norm. It’s truly sad. I mean, even Thanksgiving is ruined each year because shopping suddenly became more important then spending it with family.
I hope ya’ll have a very Merry Christmas this year and I hope that you get to spend it with amazing family members that deserve your presence. I know that God has blessed me this year with the opportunity for my family to come visit us the season. To celebrate what Christmas is all about: family.
What this beautiful video for the REAL reason for the season: