23 December 2013

We did it!

This year we decided to take the money we wanted to spend on decorating our new house for Christmas & spend it on others.  Well, I decided.  My husband was along for the ride, though.  He loves giving.

I don't feel like I've ever been an over-the-top Christmas person.  Not by American standards anyway.  The only Christmas decorations we own are our tree, ornaments & stockings.  Two years ago we added the an elf & a stuffed dog my husband grew up with-- each reminds us of our childhood at Christmastime.

We had long looked forward to this year.  Our first year in our own home.  We even have a fireplace, y'all!  I can't tell you how many adorable mantle decorations I pinned on Pinterest.  I was planning on spending a modest $20 decorating the mantle and maybe getting a few other festive things for the house.

But then I read a book and, in short, decided to spend that $20 on someone who really needs it.

I started with our church food drive.  $20 in non perishable food.  Done.  Easy!

And then I started to feel guilty.  Seriously?  $20 is all you can do?  I think not.

So then I spent a little more.

Don't freak out-- the 4th stocking is for our dog.
Then our community group at church decided to put together bags of helpful items for the homeless, so we bought some for that.  And Operation Christmas Child.  And had a family over for an early Christmas dinner.
And then in a matter of two days I had three friends leave presents on my door step.  Let me tell you-- it made my day!  Sometimes candy, sometimes something for my (almost) two year old.  A great way to put a smile on my face.

So this past Tuesday we went to Target, bought 10 gift bags & filled them full of goodies, then headed out to bless some friends!  Hazelnut was such a trooper & didn't complain about being in the car for so long.  We also found a few other presents along the way that just seemed to be right there for a person in our lives so we picked those up & delivered them, too. 

And finally, today while riding a ferry (for the first time!) a family asked me to take their picture.  Then their camera died.  And their phones were dead.  Thankfully, I had AA batteries in my car & was able to hook them up!

It feels good to help.  And we're thankful that we're able to help.  Our house is a little plain, but that's okay.  Maybe we will hit up some after Christmas sales.
Bags of helpful items for the homeless.

Our daughter is not quite two so she still doesn't 'get' the whole present thing, which is pretty awesome.  She's getting plenty of presents from our family members so we decided to spend $25 on toys for her & then start some sort of savings account for her.  She will never miss it. Which reminds me-- I still have $10 to spend!  Which is good because Santa totally forgot about her stocking.  ;)

I'm interested to see how next year will turn out. She'll be three.  I really want to instill in her to never expect presents.  A joyful "Happy Birthday" or "Merry Christmas" and time spent together should be the real present, and the rest is just the icing on the cake.  I know, I know... very idealistic for a first time mom over here!  But we'll learn as we go.  And of course we'll always get her presents.  Mainly I just don't want to ever hear her say, "______ didn't get me a present!"

So that kind of went off on a tangent, but all in all, it's been a great Christmas season & I'm glad that we made it through our first Christmas in our own home without going crazy buying every decoration we see.  Here's to a fabulous 2014!

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