This time of year is exciting when we have little children. We want to make each moment as magical as we can and we want to be sure that our children form memories that will last a lifetime. We certainly don't want them to experience disappointment.
As much as we want to do all we can for our families, we are often left more than a little frazzled with a hint of stressed and anxious as well. In addition to all of the preparations and purchasing, every once in a while the prospect of having credit card bills arrive in January breaks through our consciousness. For those already facing times when money is tighter than they want, our celebrations of joy and our reminder of a world at peace can seem very distant.
If you find yourself in this place, I want to offer a few suggestions that might help this year!
What Kids Remember: As much as we think and hope they remember the awesome presents they got and the magic of Christmas morning when they all appear, our children will remember our presence, our love, and our ability to make time for them more. If you have to choose between running out to get another present and spending time reading the Christmas story with them on the couch, always choose the time.
Our Kids Have Us Figured Out: Our kids are perceptive about what we are feeling. It's amazing how often I think I am putting on a brave non-anxious face while feeling stress and anxiety inside and my kids can pick up on it. If we are running around trying to make the perfect Christmas for our family, our kids can pick up on our stress even if we have a jolly face on. It might mean fewer parties, fewer presents, or fewer commitments, but whatever it takes to reduce your stress at this time of year will make it more enjoyable for you and your family.
It's Not Worth the Debt: With the various things I mentioned above, it is possible to create the "perfect" Christmas without going into debt and without all the negative emotions that debt brings which reach further into the calendar than the Christmas season. Finding ways to bring joy, peace, and hope into your family’s traditions without money will help you and your family enjoy Christmas even more, and your children will not be scarred for life if they don't get the hot toy of 2018.
Trust me, I know that making this kind of transition can feel like we are robbing our kids of joy and laughter, but I also know that everyone will have a healthier outlook on life, possessions, and the true meaning of Christmas if we set ourselves up for success in the right areas now rather than having to learn it later.
Blessings, Pastor Kevin