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a post by the lovely Becky (still rhyming)
Becky blogs at family budgeting about living creatively on a family budget and we are delighted to share her guest post today.
I want to share with you a little secret I learned and Christmas. I think it’s a secret that needs to come out!
Basically we need to spend less and chill out a bit more.
If we close our eyes an think back the Christmas memories that warm us are not ones that involve expensive gifts or huge amounts of effort sustained by our parents every day throughout December. So really listen up…now you are a parent you don’t need to spend too much money or wear yourself out with effort. I’m going to tell you why.
My best ever Christmas gift was my tiny tears doll. She was the only gift I got that year from Santa and I loved her with every bit of me. I still have her. One present really can be enough.
My next best gifts? The following year mums friend Mary knitted tiny tears clothes and then there was the momentous year Tricia (my older sister who I always thought hated me) made me a dolls house from a cardboard box. (I had far more expensive gifts but have no real recollection….these are the ones that mattered to me.)
In terms of Christmas time it’s not expensive pantomimes or trips to see Santa I I recall my best memories were of going to the crib service, always getting a selection box, and delivering our toys to Dr. Barnardos. Dad use to insist we gave away three toys each to children who might need them before Santa came to see us and we loved this ‘special job’ He had done this as a child and my children now choose 3 good toys to give away too just before Christmas.
I recall Boxing Days at granddads writing treasure hunt poems for the snowman to deliver after lunch. We did this every single year. My little family do this now too. I adored putting up decorations with my mum and her telling me stories about my grandma and now I do just the same with my children. Precious times. But these weren’t frenzied must cram them in, photograph them , blog them, share them traditions they were gentle and well spaced and lovely and in between was lots of time to relax and play and be. Christmas was a holiday.
We would have a nice lunch but it wasn’t complicated and extravagant. Our crackers were always rubbish but we giggled and they banged!
I like to go and see the kids carols at school and I love it when carol singers visit. My memories aren’t about big events, plush advent calendars and expensive gifts. But I do recall playing with wrapping paper under a big table and helping mum stir the pud. We’d watch special films together on the TV like the wizard of Oz. and eat too much chocolate. We relaxed, playing monopoly for hours.
I had magic Christmas's and my parents didn’t overspend or try too hard to make them magic. So they weren’t stressed or frazzled. They were fun and happy and relaxed.
Our little artificial tree had the same baubles every year and it was perfect. We never did get to Lapland and the Santa we saw was always on at the community centre not the posh garden centre. That was fine too.
Don’t strive for perfect, get uptight, stressed or in debt. Kick back a bit, enjoy your family and friends. Little treats and traditions mixed with twinkly lights, special telly and cheery songs we all know are magic enough. And for those that believe in it the Christmas story , all on it’s own, is just the greatest gift.
If you keep your Christmas simple on every level it will be RICH in pleasure and it will indeed be memory making.