The Year I Saved Christmas

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Year I Saved Christmas

One of the best Christmases I remember was in 2008 when the economy plummeted and took my husband’s fledgling business along with it.  With barely enough money to pay the basics, there was certainly no budget for gifts. So what’s a mom to do?  Determined to provide my kids with the joy of opening gifts on Christmas morning despite the gloomy forecast of our bank account, I started saving a little each week from our grocery budget. By the time Christmas rolled around, I was able to accumulate $60, which meant $20 per child for a bit of holiday joy.

We told our kids ahead of time that Christmas was going to be lean that year. In fact, they were prepared to wake up on Christmas morning with no gifts under the tree.  And they were okay with that, being the awesome kids they were.  My oldest daughter was 19 and attending college at the time, so I knew she would be happy with anything for her apartment. My middle daughter was 15 and loved old books and anything vintage so I figured that wouldn’t be too hard. My son, at 13, was all about campfires and outdoor stuff so he was going to be my biggest challenge.

On a blustery winter morning, just a few days before Christmas Eve, I headed out to do my shopping. My destination: The Rescue Mission, Winston-Salem’s largest thrift store where one can find anything from furniture to forks, and where proceeds go to help people get back on their feet after addictions or homelessness.  God was surely smiling on me, because an hour later I was happily loading my treasures into the car - a small white wall cupboard for Natalie, perfect for storing cosmetics; a cozy reading chair and a collection of poems from the 1940’s for Rosemary; a campfire popcorn popper and an assortment of flashlights and tools for Ethan.  With the five dollars left in my pocket, I purchased wrapping paper, and used freshly gathered pine and holly for present toppers.  Later that night, as the lights glowed on the tree I happily placed my bulky packages around its fragrant branches and went to bed with a happy heart. 

My kids still talk about that Christmas. They say it was the best we’ve ever had, because it was about loving each other, pulling together through a difficult time, and focusing on thankfulness for what we had instead of what we lacked. And that’s really what it should be like, right?

by Naomi Gingerich, as printed in Winston-Salem Monthly Magazine, December 2015. 

1 comment:

  1. This brought tears to my eyes, the ending where you mention that the kids always say that it was their best Christmas, can feel your glowing Momma heart full of pride that you did good.