Monday, December 1, 2008

Holidays and Tough Economic Times … One Family’s Story

Andy and Cheryl prepared everyone in their family this year by telling them that they love them very much, would still be sharing presents, but they would all notice a difference. These are tough economic times and money is tight. Then Cheryl and Andy set about thinking of creative ways to celebrate simply. Many of the gifts that they are giving have to do with time and their talent. Hours of babysitting and coupons for casseroles are on the gift list. Cheryl put together gift baskets with baked goods and baking supplies. She was quite creative with jars of soup and cookie mix. Andy offered coupons for yard work and snow shoveling and promised to take the initiative to schedule the work, not wait for the “ask”.

Finding ways to help their children understand the simpler Christmas, they began talking about it weeks in advance. They helped each child find a way to make gifts or coupons for their siblings and gave them each a chance to earn a little money so that they could purchase something very small as well. Getting the children in the mindset of living simpler, they also helped them gather older toys that were still in good condition, cleaned them up and found a way to donate them to others in need. As they worked on this project, Cheryl and Andy talked about the changes happening in our world and in their lives. They also spent a lot of time talking about what have been the gifts in their family and in each one of them.

As we near Christmas, the children are preparing for things to be simpler. There will still be a few special presents under the tree. Cheryl has done quite a bit of research on-line and is quite adept at finding the many different coupon and price comparison websites. She has even found a few things at consignment shops and both parents feel pretty sure that their children will be pleased with what the find under the tree Christmas morning.

Andy and Cheryl feel a little more light-hearted and really good about the life lessons that the children are learning. Christmas will be very special for this family after all.

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