The Reason For The Season


If you were to enter my house, well, apartment, really, you won't find an enormous live tree, nor will you see much in the way of decorating. No fresh wreaths on the door, and no twinkling lights outside on the porch. Underneath our years-old artificial tree, there will be a little pile of gifts, maybe five or six, set aside for our son. 


I can tell you with certainty, that those facts tore me up for quite awhile. I wanted nothing more than to make my home a Christmas haven for my little boy. I wanted this to be the year that we could go out and buy a real tree, so he could experience it's beautiful pine scent fill the air. I wanted to spread out our money throughout the year, so that we could give him a spectacular Christmas. 

Now, don't get me wrong. We've decorated a little bit. I have some lights up in our windows, cute little battery powered ones that I found at our local dollar store, as well as some really cute window clings, because my little guy just loves those things, and we always decorate the windows together, it's our thing. But we cannot afford to buy a fresh wreath to put on our front door, nor can we spare the money to light up the outside of our home. It just isn't financially feasible for us. 



A lot happened this past year. We had to find a new place to live in a short amount of time, and our car totally just up and died in the middle of an extremely busy highway, on our wedding anniversary, no less. At the time, we didn't even have the funds to purchase a car. Or a bike, really. Anything with wheels, as a matter of fact. But our families were right there for us. My parents spent hours upon hours with us on the side of the road, coming to our rescue when we needed it the most. While my husbands parents helped us get a new car, well used, but you know what I mean. 

My husband diligently gets up every morning to go to work, without fail, to make money to keep a roof over our heads, and food on the table. I've never really worried about the whole "clothes on our back thing," for Syrus, at least. Seriously, his grandparents on both sides adore getting him clothes. The husband and I wear what we have. We do scrimp and we do try to save. But it is always always those unexpected things that sneak up on you. 


I do my best as a stay-at-home mom to make what little money I can for the family. Since becoming essentially disabled as a teenager, a typical job outside of the house was never something that was in the cards for me. I write, write, and write some more for the various jobs that I have. It isn't a steady paycheck like my husband, but it does help get us by most of the time, paying an odd bill here and there, or putting gas in the tank. 

Sometimes, I feel like a complete and utter failure to my family. I want nothing more than to get out there in the world and find a job that offers a steady paycheck so that I could truly support my family, making it a dual income household. As a mom, and I think every parent can relate, you want to give your child everything you didn't have. It's the one constant that never changes from generation to generation. I want that for my son. My husband wants that for our son. 


As the holiday season rapidly approached, my heart began to break, as with every paycheck that came and quickly went, thanks to bills and rent, there wasn't much extra to shop with. Sure, I've picked up a few things here and there. I kept telling myself it wasn't enough. I wanted my son to have incredible memories from the holidays, something that he could look back on one day and cherish. I truly thought that he wouldn't.  

In my heart, though, I know that he will look back on these days and remember them fondly. For, even though we do not have expendable amounts of money to purchase presents with, we have an infinite amount of love for him, something that could never be bought. While we may have a smaller house than most, it truly is home to us. Is it messy? Sure, sometimes it is. I like to think of it as lived in. There is so much love within those walls, something that could never compare to any material possession. The true reason for the season is love and hope. It's about spreading cheer and sharing joy with one another. Friends and family gather together for a wonderful time, making beautiful memories in the process. 


We don't have an abundance of decorations, but instead, a lovely and minimalistic take on holiday decorating. Simple and understated is often the best, after all. Instead of going out and purchasing anything I thought my son would like, I listened throughout the year, paying close attention to the items that he really wanted. Instead of a huge pile of toys that he would likely only play with once, there are toys there that he has been talking about the whole year. Things I know that he will play with over and over again. Oh, and that tree? In all of it's twinkling and shimmering glory, is something that never falters in it's job to spread holiday cheer. It is a silent reminder for me to remember to stand tall and be proud, and to never let anyone or anything dull my sparkle 

Wishing you and yours a beautiful holiday filled with unforgettable memories, 
and a whole lot of love. 

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35 comments:

Teresa Lumpkin said...

Jennifer, the greatest gift you can give is Love. from what I have seen your little guys has an enormous amount of that.That is what he will remember.Hold your head high and just keep doing your best and you will rewarded when he is big enough to realize all that you have done through your illness. My son is 22 now and doesn't even remember when there was very little coming in. He does however remember all of the fun little things we did together like making paper chains to decorate for the holidays and has fond memories of all the time we were able to spend together. I wish you and your family the best everyday!

Tiffany said...

Sometimes minimalism is started by necessity but then you realize it really is the best way to live.

Lacey White said...

He wont remember all of those gifts he got, he will remember how much his mama loves him. He will forever cherish decorating windows with you though! So sweet!

Masshole Mommy said...

I think loving our kids is the best gift we can give them. They will cherish those memories all their lives.

Melanie Scout said...

If simple and understated is the best, then I'd definitely win all of the decorating contests ever. :)

Stefany T said...

We purposely give only 3 gifts to our kids. It isn't about the gifts or decorations. For us it is a religious thing but the same applies as it does to you. We do it because those things don't matter. Family matters. Being together and having fun matters. Not the number of gifts you receive.

Devon C said...

He won't remember the toys. He will remember all the fun and love he has. He will remember the window clings and helping to put them on the window. It is the little things like that, that matter to kids the most.

Megan Elford {WelcomeToTheZoo} said...

I'd like to echo what everyone else is saying -- your son won't remember the gifts themselves. But he will remember the feeling of being part of a loving family, the cuddles and laughter and the everyday things that you do together. That's the stuff that really lasts :-)

Earl-Leigh said...

It's all about the family moments. If all you did was bake cookies together, sing your hearts out and maybe opened one present...he would love it!

Glam Granola Geek said...

A minimalist Christmas is something to be proud of! So many get sucked into all the excess

Valerie Earnest said...

Great thoughts here. Christmas is more meaningful when we step out from all the trim and trappings, remember the First Gift, and show love to each other!

Ilona K. said...

My child has the same bear:) And what a lovely blog, I love you colors!

Kathryn said...

Love is priceless indeed! And it is amazing sometimes what can be done with just a little :)

Kimberly Bolden said...

Jennifer,

Please hear me when I say that YOU ARE ENOUGH! My heart goes out to your and your family. I pray for strength in the midst of weakness and wisdom as you and your husband navigate these circumstances.

Jane H said...

Beautiful post and reminder to all, be proud of who you are, where you've been and where you are going.
The Greatest Gift of All is Love...
Merry Christmas to you & yours :)

Stacy Solmo said...

What a lovely post and such a wise sentiment. Love truly is the most important thing in any family.

Marya said...

Great thoughts! Always good to remember!

Danielle K said...

Being there and giving our children love is the best gift - thanks for sharing this.

Michelle said...

The very best thing you can give anyone is yourself and it certainly seems like you're doing that!

Maggie King said...

Oh honey, I've been where you are. We still struggle and we have no savings. We just make ends meet. This is why family is so important. Presents aren't important. The fact that he's happy, healthy and loved is.

Sarh Snarski said...

We don't have a real tree or fresh wreath either, no "scent" of Christmas in the air here. We've only been able to buy each of our 3 kids ONE gift each. There are no decorations either. Things get hard, but as long as we have our families that is what really matters.

Sarh Snarski said...

We don't have a real tree or fresh wreath either, no "scent" of Christmas in the air here. We've only been able to buy each of our 3 kids ONE gift each. There are no decorations either. Things get hard, but as long as we have our families that is what really matters.

Dhemz Apdian - Dias said...

Christmas is not just about gifts...spending time with family is what matters most!
www.gregdemcydias.com

Jillian Fisher said...

Your blog is so beautiful and I love your style of writing. I don't say that often, so I truly mean it. =-) I think I went a little crazy on my kids this year because last year we couldn't, but like you we couldn't afford any decorations, but I have a couple things. When it comes down to it though if we can't afford any gifts at least we have each other.

The Memory Journalists said...

Great post! I love that you have the tradition of decorating the windows with your son. that is what is most important!

Liz Mays said...

You have the spirit of Christmas in your heart, and that's where it really matters. I know your son will treasure every bit of your simplified holiday and all the memories attached.

Star light said...

I agree! When we put up our tree it always feels more like Christmas! I fee that bad that I am not earning a steady pay check sometimes too but I truly feel being home with the kids is something that we will both cherish for a lifetime. It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job being a mommy :-)

Ashley Hubbard said...

I can relate to this more than I can explain. I don't have children but I also work from home - making enough random money to help out with small bills and whatnot. As I'm building my business though, I feel like a failure as well. Its rough sometimes! My boyfriend and I decided not to do gifts for each other this year to save money which sucks but that's okay!

Carly said...

Decorations are nice, but it's more about spending time with your family. Family is what really matters.

Nadine Renee Naturals said...

The reason for the season is truly love.

An Ordinary Housewife said...

I'm sorry you've had such a rough year. But your son knows you love him no matter what.

Amanda McMahon said...

I just posted a few thoughts I had on depression - the idea of keeping busy and feeling worthy. YOU are enough!

Eliz Obih-Frank said...

Jennifer, your post was so poignant and beautiful and spoke for so many families struggling to make the holidays a cheerful time under great financial constraints. You are a blessing to your loved ones because you are filled with love and compassion and a desire to help. Your love is greater than every gift, every dollar and every sparkly thing out there. If there is one thing kids remember first when they grow up, it is the love they received... All will be well with you. Happy Holidays!

Debbie Hayes said...

Beautifully written. As you grow older you will find that happiness is not found in stuff!

Courtney Pies said...

You definitely cannot let anyone or anything dull your sparkle! And family is definitely the most important thing during this season and all year 'round.