Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas is Not About Presents

I know that most of my bloggy friends know that Christmas is NOT about presents. Christmas is about celebrating the miracle of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. We give gifts on Christmas to symbolize the gifts that were brought to the Christ child, and we give gifts to show our friends and family that we love them.

This year, due to my deadbeat ex, we are struggling financially. We cannot afford to buy any gifts this year. At first, I was upset about this fact, especially since Katie is so excited about Christmas this year.

But in the past few weeks, I have started to think of this hardship as a huge blessing. Without presents, we have been able to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. There is also no stress about what to buy for whom or keeping within our budget. I've actually been stress-free this Christmas season, and I love it.

Of course, I found out this morning that my brother is mad at me because I'm not buying presents for his children. You see, I sent an email out to the people whose children I usually buy gifts for to let them know about my situation. I wanted them to know ahead of time that I could not get presents for their children this year. Even though I know that Christmas is about giving, not receiving, I didn't want other people who may not be as into this concept to get mad at me for letting them buy gifts for my children when I couldn't do the same for theirs. I wanted them to be aware of the situation and let them make their own decision about whether or not to give to my girls.

Apparently, my brother has a problem with this. I have no idea why, either. Is he really mad that I can't afford to buy gifts for his children? If that's the case, why can't he simply take the money he was going to spend on my FOUR children, and buy more gifts for his TWO children?

What would you do in this situation? If you had a close relative come to you and say, "I'm really sorry, but I can't afford to buy any Christmas presents this year, and that includes your children," what would you do or say? Would you get mad at them? Or would you have another reaction?


Heather said...

I absolutely would not be offended if someone said they couldn't afford gifts. In fact some of my friends decided we were not exchanging this year due to financial reasons (all involved). Christmas is NOT about the presents. That being said, I love giving. I'm happily selling on e-bay, buying on craigslist and couponing to save up so that we can give to everyone we normally do (except those already decided upon mutually) and for the kids. It's not that I feel like I HAVE to. I WANT to.

Khadra said...

Oh no, that is AWFUL. Seeing as we are always the one with no money I would definitely understand. I would also offer to help. You know, if your brother was going to buy gifts for your kids anyway, why not just give you the money to get them what they really want?

give me his phone number. Im calling him LOL!

Michelle said...

He's is being rediculous. He should be more understanding. I don't know why anyone couldn't understand your situation. I hope you're not really worried about his reaction. I'm sure he'll come to his senses. That's just silly.

Susan said...

You did the right thing and your brother's reaction isn't right. We had to do that last year, not cut it all out but cut it WAY back and stop exchanging with some relatives. I still brought homemade goodies for everyone but they new upfront no gifts. Everyone seem fine. In fact, they appreciated the heads up like you said. Depending on how close you are to your brother, maybe try to ask what is wrong?

Jenni said...

I have two goddaughters that I have bought no presents for (birthday or Christmas) for the past three years because of finances.

What I do is call, email, exchange pictures, watch videos of their games (they live in a different state than me).

These things are about having a relationship with someone special. If they are so focused on the gift; then there isn't a storng relationship. My gift is being a part of their life!

Kelsey said...

Don't take offense to this, but your brother is acting like a jerk.
If anything he should be offering to buy your kids something extra since they won't be getting much do to the financial situation!

We don't exchange gifts with the family. We already have so much stuff that we just get together and hang out and that is good enough. Sure the 4 yr old would love to have a present, but he already got so much earlier in the day from his parents; he doesn't need one more thing he'll forget about.

I hope it all works out for you!

Joanne said...

I would exactly what you would do. Infact, I asked that my kids be left out of the holiday gift exchange this year, due to my salary being cut 20%. My family knows our situation and they completely understand. Family should be understanding .... I'm sorry your brother doesn't feel that way.

Tracy P. said...

I would hug them and figure out a way to make things happen in a different way for all of the kids so that they all had fun and no one felt left out--a little white elephant exchange with items from the dollar store or something.

I love the fact that you are wise enough to know your limitations, and that you are being honest with yourself and others. Yea for your kids--you are giving them a HUGE gift in your example!