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Parenting During the Holidays
Why Do You Celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas?
The hustle, bustle of the holidays begins in October. We start anticipating the menu for Thanksgiving. Maybe even the decor. Some look forward to Black Friday shopping. Others are looking past Thanksgiving to Christmas. Some handle the upcoming holidays with joy others not so much. For some the holidays mean having to deal with not having enough. Not having the menu of turkey or stuffing at Thanksgiving. Not having enough to shop on Black Friday. Not even having gifts under the tree at Christmas.
When I was a little girl I had something special at Thanksgiving. We didn't have the traditional meal. My parents were poor. We couldn't afford the turkey or even the stuffing. Funny thought I never missed it. What we did have was a traditional meal that included rice, beans, pork, and rice pudding. My mom worked nights just so that she could afford a little extra at the holidays. She would come home at 2:00 AM in the morning to get a few hours of sleep to then get up at 6:00 AM to make sure we had what we needed before sending us off to school. We looked forward to the smell in the kitchen that came from what some would consider a poor meal. We enjoyed watching our mom cook. I especially loved being in the kitchen trying to help. Of course I was probably not as much help as my mother would have liked. She would smile as she handed me the spoon to stir the rice. I loved that time with her. She would bake from scratch because the box cakes were too expensive. The smell of cake or cookies filled the air. Those are the things that I remember about Thanksgiving.
Christmas was just as exciting for me. I loved putting up the little skinny, fragile tree my mom purchased at a local five and dime. She would pull out all the little ornaments she had. Back then they were made of fragile glass, so we had to be extra careful that they would not drop onto the floor for fear they would break. Once it was all done we would ooh and ah at the tree lights. To us it looked like a million dollar tree. We had no idea that mom would work late at night to even be able to have the money to decorate the tree or by each of us one gift. Our tree was bare at the bottom. We would put cookies and milk out for Jesus. Yes it was my mom's teachable moment. There was no Santa Claus. It was Jesus who provided for us. We would stay up as late as we could staring out the window watching for the star that would show us Jesus's secret location letting us know he was on his way to provide for us. When we couldn't keep our eyes open anymore we would fall asleep at the window. My father would carry us to bed. The next morning there would be a gift wrapped up next to each of us on our bed. We couldn't wait to see what Jesus provided for us.
Remember that Jesus is the Reason for The Season
Memories of the Holidays are Teachable Moments
Your children will remember the gifts for a time. But that gift will quickly fade away. What they will hold close to their heart is the time that you spent with them. The laughter, the smiles, the joy of each heartfelt moment. That is what they will remember. Take the time to teach them the importance of the season. It is better to give then to receive. Teach them to be blessing to others who are less fortunate then themselves. Teach them that love is first and they will never feel poor.
Thanksgiving or Christmas on a Budget
The bible teaches us to be frugal. Understanding that everything even our finances belongs to God helps to keep us humble at the holidays. Some may have what they need to spend a little more but others may not. Whether you have more or less you should always practice humility, and wisdom when it comes to your finances during the holidays. Here are some ways to have a great Thanksgiving and a very Merry Christmas on a budget.
- Make a list and check it twice. Have a prepared menu. Know what you need. Stick to the menu.
- Check what's in your pantry before going out to the grocery store. Sometimes you have what you need. No reason to by it again if you already have it.
- Never go shopping when your hungry. You will buy what you don't need when you are hungry.
- Remember to check the grocery clearance sections. Sometimes things like bread pudding can be made with two or three day old bread, so why pay full price. Always look out for coupons or store savings.
- Sometimes the store brand is more expensive then the name brand. Check prices when shopping. Make sure you are truly getting a deal.
- Be creative. Look to see what you have in your home that you can transform into holiday decor. You would be surprised at what you find. You will also be surprised at how creative you can be.
- Think about gifts that can be made at home. Baked cookies make great gifts. You can always package them by buying a tin from the dollar store. Sometimes you have things lying around that you have outgrown but are still useful that can be re-gifted. Some of the most thoughtful gifts I have received are the one's that people took the time out to make for me. You would be surprised what a little creativity, a hot glue gun, a whole lot of love can do.
- Christmas trees, ornaments are often donated. You can check with your local churches to see if they have a tree. Or you can be creative and make one out of cardboard using a scissors, hot glue gun, some green mesh ribbon.
- If you are not in a position to purchase groceries check with your local churches, food pantries. During the holidays they look to be a blessing to those who are in need.
- Remember that many organizations have toy drives during the holidays to help those who are not able to purchase them. Stay informed as to what is happening in the community, so you don't miss out.
Don't Be Too Prideful To Ask For Help
The face of homelessness has changed. People who sit right next to you in church may be homeless. In the city where I live there are over 650 homeless children but you would never know it by looking at them because they are bathed, clean and well kept. They attend school, church, events and look like those that are not in need. If you are in tune you will not miss an opportunity to bless someone in need.
Fellowship, Laughter, Time Spent With Family Is All You Need
I don't remember all the gifts. I don't remember the need. What I remember were the teachable moments. The time my mom took to explain that God was our everything even our provider at Thanksgiving or Christmas. I remember the time baking cookies. The time spent with my mom making that special meal. I remember family laughing. Having a great time with friends. I remember the warm fuzzy feeling I got when I smelled the special food being made.
That is the very thing that I taught my child. That holidays are about Jesus. That they are about spending time with those that you love. Gifts are nice if you are able to have them but even if you don't the time spent with family, friends making those special memories that last a lifetime is priceless.
Recipe For A Priceless Holiday To Be Remembered
Love your family, your friends, co-workers
If you can't afford it, don't buy it. True family, friends will understand.
Teach people that Jesus is the reason for the season. He is all you need.
Show love by greeting family with a warm hug. Greet your friends with the love of Christ. Greet those you work with a friendly smile.
Let Christ shine through you. Be the change you want to see in others.
Don't allow the holidays to distract you from sharing the gift of Christ with others. Remember to be a light that shines in the darkest of places.
Do not allow the business of the holidays to keep you from showing the love of Christ to others.
Keep in mind that stress levels are high. Show patience, compassion towards others. Remind yourself that you are not the only parent trying to provide for their families. They may not know the Lord but you do.
Reflect Christ in all you do during the holidays. Do not allow other people's attitudes to affect your testimony. Be kind even when others are not. Be joyful even when others are not. Be happy even when others are angry.
Be the Change You Want to See In Others, Be the Light of the World
Shine Like the Star that Led the Three Wise Men to Jesus
Let your light shine. You don't need money or gifts to illuminate the world. All you need is Jesus!