Thursday, November 19th, 2009
Yesterday as I started to prepare dinner I turned on the TV and The Ellen show was on. She was reading a letter from a viewer about how the family had fallen on hard times and was now living off credit to just buy groceries. Ellen surprised her with a knock on the door and $25,000.00. I started to cry…there I was by myself crying over my butternut squash soup. I really had to pull myself together. I think what motivated this emotional breakdown wasn’t just this family, but the accumulated family we all have. From relatives to friends to neighbors, to people whose names you don’t even know…these times are tough. Over the weekend a sweet friend came over to help me with some of my packaging. We sat at my dining room table for hours doing this random activity and talking about the struggles (and joys) of married life and children, hers are very small. We laughed a lot and shared stories and ideas for how things could improve. These tough economic times have added so much extra stress on people. It’s almost a test to see how resourceful you can be. She is selling different people’s stuff on eBay and taking a cut for example. Moms who had previously stayed at home with the kids are now looking for what they can do to contribute.
Now here come the holidays…
Christmas and the holidays will really test us. Can’t everyone do with less?
When my husband and I were first together I used to monogram a pair of socks for him – that was his present. It was special, meaningful and certainly unique.
There have been good years and bad years and it’s OK to go with the flow about it. It’s OK to say to your family we aren’t doing the extra gifts this year. And for your kids, I almost think if you are somewhat honest and say we are cutting back this year because things are tight, that’s OK too. Some years are better than others and they will experience that their whole life. Let’s cook together, learn how to bake bread or any activity that you can do together. Spend time with each other.
Be creative…We have a party every year that I would by gifts for 15 kids. It was a big deal! A couple of years ago we started playing a game where each family brought one gift…it could be a gag. One kid opened it and they could keep it or trade it. It was so much fun and has now become the tradition. Don’t feel guilty that you must do it all. Change the rules. This year is going to be different and you do not need to feel bad about it. Have a good attitude yourself and others will catch on.