Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas is coming

That’s right, it’s December 1st, and in a few short weeks Christmas will be here! This year it’s pretty exciting, because last year we didn’t have a Christmas. I know there are so many families that this year they will be having the year that we had last, when they will do without and try to make sure they take care of those with what gifts they can give, because they feel they must for fear of letting them down.
We knew there was no money for presents. Money was really tight so we forewent the awkwardness and promised not to do much of anything for each other so we could take care of who we really wanted to. To make matters worse, we didn’t even decorate. The house looked just like any other day, which probably helped us not feel as though we missed out on as much. It’s hard because my husband and I began dating just after Thanksgiving time, so for us, last year was even harder because of all the celebrations we couldn’t have. That meant, a sad anniversary, a more depressing birthday for my husband who already has it tough enough being born just days before Christmas, and then a quiet day on the 25th.
I felt terrible. It was depressing, and sad, but I just couldn’t wait for Christmas to be over. We did it to ourselves, stressing about the expenses and not enjoying the spirit of the season without the worry of the bill. The only saving grace was that we did a secret Santa with our family and when I was asked what he wanted I got to tell them to get him what I would have wanted to if I could have. So when he got to open his present I felt happy to know he got something he really wanted.
The same went for me. I actually had tears in my eyes, because I knew if my then fiancé could have given me that gift he would have. I felt so lucky to have family that would do that for us, even if they didn’t know they were. I’m sure no one knew how much we were struggling at the time, and that we didn’t do anything for Christmas on our own. We have this way of just going with things and trying to make the best of it. I always say when it gets really rough, “these are the times we will look back at and remember as the best, our closest times.”
So this year as we are decorating our little apartment, getting gifts for all of our friends and family, it feels like a relief. Are we in that much of a better place than last year? Well, not exactly, obviously as the blog is titled, I am still unemployed! The student loan bills are rolling and they aren’t too pretty. But this year we aren’t saving for a wedding, and we need a Christmas in this house, so if that means we pay the minimums, so be it! Isn’t that the American way, buy now and get the bill next month?! Of course I’m a bargain hunter, and I have become obsessed with trying to get things people actually want or need. If you are going to spend your money on something, don’t be wasteful, right?! Except for my sister, I refuse to buy her things she actually needs, because she is like me, she needs splurge items and who better to get them than me?
So if you are one of my friends or my family and you are reading this, know I took a lot of time and effort in everything I bought. If you don’t like it, tell me, I want to get you something better. Seriously! And if you are one of the many unemployed who isn’t celebrating a holiday this year because of the expense know this, it’s not all about the gifts. I believe that we had a rough holiday last year because we let ourselves be upset by it. We loved the time we spent together, but we should have decorated, not tried to get “over” the holiday. I wish I had bought us a nice dinner to celebrate, or just one special gift that said, “it’s our “hard” year but things will get better,” so when we looked at it we knew that we survived a rough patch.
This year there will be a tree, and under it presents, and most will leave as they end up in the arms of my nieces and nephew, friends, parents, and our siblings. But this year some will stay. And when it’s Christmas morning I get to see the look on his face when he opens my gifts, from me…sure he ultimately paid for it, but like I said, baby steps. Next year it will be all from me, and I know just what I’m going to get him then!

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