Family Frameworks

Christmas: Spending TIME versus money by Katie Walker, LMSW

06

Dec 2016

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Its Christmas time!!! A time of excitement and cheer, right!?!?! Facebook and Instagram will light up with all the 16-family-christmas-photos-that-are-full-of-win-2-8208-1419100558-4_dblbig“Perfect” family moments, but for a lot of us it’s a super stressful time for a variety of reasons. The biggest being finances, which is one of the top issues couples fight about.

Still feeling cheery and warms inside?

When I was younger, I loved giving gifts. I searched for the perfect gift for family and friends. But, as I have gotten older that disposable income from high school and college, isn’t so disposable anymore. And with two little ones in diapers and daycare, money is super tight these days and so is time.  It feels like those days to endless gift giving are long gone, unless I want to go into major debt… Which society almost demands us to do.

This will be my oldest daughters 3rd Christmas. I remember feeling “mommy” pressure to go all out for her first Christmas because what kind of mom would I be if I didn’t? What would people think? Would she look back and think I didn’t love her? What if that toy is vital to her developmental growth and I don’t get it for her?!?!  I feel the same pressure every year. But, I also feel God pulling at my heart to teach my Girls what Christmas is really about.

So my husband and I had to step back and think about what we wanted our family Christmas to look like. I figured we had three options with our current situation:

Live in societies expectations and go into debt, focus and teach our girls what Christmas is really about, or drown in the guilt about what we couldn’t afford to give them.

So we decided to really focus on what Christmas is about. It’s about His Son, not the money I spend. It’s about spending time with family and teaching and living in God’s word. And remembering that nowhere in the bible does it say that love is expressed by how much I spend. So my husband and I have decided to focus the Holidays on spending time with family and celebrating Jesus. This can look different for every family.

But for us this is what it looks like:

We are getting our oldest one gift and stocking stuffers and our youngest her first Christmas ornament and a small toy (or just an empty box wrapped in paper; every infants dream). LOL

But the real gift is that we will be spending the day together. No one working
or cleaning or worrying about a schedule or running errands. The whole day will be spent together; family-christmasplaying, singing, laughing, and reading about Jesus
.

 

Now I get that my girls are still very young and their materialist selves have not developed yet. So, it’s a lot easier for me to say this when they aren’t crying for new toys. But, my hopes are that in starting early we can teach them that Christmas doesn’t have to be a time where you have to express your love and gratitude for the people in your lives with money and things, but with time and togetherness.

There are three main benefits to this strategy:

  1. No matter where we end up financially, whether its counting pennies or hundreds, Christmas will always be the same for them. Christmas will not be affected by our economic status.
  2. Less financial stress for my husband and me means we have more time to enjoy each other instead of fight about money.
  3. Hopefully we will be instilling the importance of spending time with people. This is huge because in a time where actual human contact has been replaced by technology we forget one of the most important gifts Jesus gave people… TIME. Face to face time with Him.

So if you are worried about how you will afford Christmas this year or feeling the tensions rise each time you pull out the credit card, remember that all people really want is to have someone show them they are loved enough to have someone spend time with them. Whether its friends or family, find a way to be WITH them instead of spending money on them. And that’s a gift that breaks all economic barriers.

 

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