Friday, December 24, 2010

A Homemade Christmas- Part 4

Our Christmas Miracle!

Oh yes.  We have a pink tree. We also have pink wrapping paper.
Out of nowhere, despite the fact that we asked for no help as we faced down our first completely BROKE Christmas, several miracles occurred.  Do you believe in miracles? Santa? A higher power listening?  Because after this week, I certainly do.  We really didn't want people to feel sorry or obligated towards us, so we've kept how financially strapped we are fairly quiet.

We let it be known that we wouldn't be spending a lot and that we'd much prefer to do homemade gifts.  But, even as I knitted, baked, and spent time with the kids to help them make presents, there were times I felt really sad.  Sad, mostly because there are people who deserve SO MUCH MORE than we could give this year.  People who have lent shoulders or been such constant sources of love and care, that I just wished with all my might that I could do more.

I should also note that I'm that person who takes in sick strays and nurses them back to health and have been burned a few times.  But the people that matter the most to me, those are the ones who I wished and wished that I could just do more for.  Especially my babies, they deserve the world!  I know that Christmas should not be all about buying up truckloads of the latest and greatest things, but I just wanted a few more things under the tree for them.

Then, as bills hit from out of nowhere (New tires, anyone? Vehicle breaks down, natch? A sudden, out of nowhere, bill that needs paid asap!), I started getting panicky and considered ideas like selling my wedding ring or taking on 16 extra part time jobs.  Then, both suddenly and slowly, miracles started floating down on us, like snow flakes.

When my daughter was a baby, my husband adopted her shortly after us marrying.  Her biological father is still active in our lives, we were just headed in very different directions when I became pregnant.  We have worked hard to have the friendship that we have and he is incredibly supportive of Nolan and I as parents.  First, he sent us a Walmart gift card a few weeks ago.

What glee!  We bought a few small gifts for the kids and then things like cat food and toilet paper.  Just keeping it real! :)  Then, we found out that we had been anonymously entered into a few angel tree giveaways and presents came for our babies!  I have never been so excited to write thank you cards EVER.

Then, out of nowhere, we received gifts of money from a few donors who wish to remain anonymous.  They wrote that they knew we were struggling and just wanted to help.  I have never truly FELT such holiday spirit as I did, knowing that people loved us enough to quietly say, "Here.  Take this gift. No need for thanks or even a gift back.  Take care of yourselves!  Put something under the tree for those lovely kiddos!"

Honestly, when this happened, I started openly crying, which was probably a huge shock to the kiddos, because I rarely cry in front of them.  We could afford to pay those bills!  We could have a nice little Christmas!  We could pick out a few small things for each other, which in the brief five years of my marriage, we have never been able to afford.  We could get a few people and our kids a few special gifts to show our gratitude and love!
A close up of some of the cool decor on our tree!

We also treated ourselves to eating out at a nice restaurant!  This is a huge deal for us.  We keep a really tight budget right now as we finish out some schooling, licensees and as I get more into freelance writing.  Reason being is that, we want to have money to use when we do move for my husbands career, and because we want a future that includes things like taking the kids on nice vacations, a house, and being able to help some with their college or post high school choices. 

We nixed things like eating out, extra spending on things we 'want' but don't 'need', etc., and a whole host of other things. To be totally truthful, we also had a history of being irresponsible that we decided to grow up and actually deal with.  Both my husband and I are guilty of irresponsible past spending and then we both got hit with identity theft.  We are still paying for our mistakes but I want our kids to see that we made mistakes, learned, took responsibility, and grew from there.

I say repeatedly that Christmas is about giving, rather than getting.  But it was nice to know that someone had been watching us struggle and said "I want to give them a better Christmas."  We believe in the importance of paying forward gifts, so some of the financial gift(s) we received went to and the American Red CrossDonors Choice was really special because we were able to pick local groups that needed assistance and help them out a bit.

I had no idea that anyone would help us so much this year.  In my book, it was a real miracle.  The financial comfort of knowing that there are a few less bills hanging over our heads is so nice.  The fact that we could pick out a few special gifts for people means so much to me.  But most importantly, the fact that we were able to use a bit of it to help other people who are in desperate need, well that is the biggest gift to my heart.

Though we stuck to our homemade Christmas plans, the gifts we received this year of miracles and hope did more than I can put into words.  I believe my heart 'grew three sizes', much like the Grinch, and I was reaffirmed of the idea that people do LOVE and CARE about each other.  So, while I can't name the people who helped us so generously, I can say than you.

Elegant Mommy is a perfect example of the commitment to giving back.  We want the families of our community to feel like they have a place to seek support, help, and things that they need the most.  Have the merriest of Christmases.
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