Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's the most WONDERFUL time of the yeaaaaar (with the exception of the fact that children are starving to death and people are dying every day who have never heard the gospel) FA LA LA LA LA, LA LA LA LA!!

I am going to put part 3 of my "singleness" posts on hold because this has really been weighing on my heart the last few days.

Christmas is upon us. I say it every year: one day it is August and then you blink and seemingly the next day it is Christmas. So I wanted to share with all of you my "plan" for this year, and to encourage you to get on board with me.

This time of year has changed for me a lot over the last few years. We went from a 2 parent home on Christmas morning, to a 1 parent and 2 grandparent home...which actually works well because my mom and I never have to get out of our jammies all day. In an effort to save money on Christmas post divorce, I went on a crazy spree of shopping all of the end of season sales in August to get it over with early and to save tons of money. Super idea, but I ended up with a lot of really cheap stuff that my kids didn't really play with...and who wants sidewalk chalk and a slip and slide for Christmas? 

So then I decided to just budget. Duh. I don't buy for everyone in the nation anymore. I do mostly gift cards and the like for the grown ups and only stuff that the kids are really in to.

We kick off Christmas each year (way before Thanksgiving) by getting our package together for our sponsored child through World Vision. This year we have a second sponsored child at Fiwagoh  (sweet Staron). Pastor Benson requests that you only send Christmas gifts if you can send one for each child......so we will be coming up with 180ish of something this year to send to ALL of the kids at Fiwagoh!

A good friend told me a couple of years ago, that she gets all of her shopping done before Thanksgiving, so when the tree goes up, the gifts go under, and then she is free to just enjoy this time of year without having to fuss about gifts. Love that and have been doing it for 2 years now. We also had a little elf named "Fruitcake" who joined us 2 years ago. Thankfully, he isn't the "roll your whole house in toilet paper" or "throw marshmallows everywhere" type elf, but more the "Fruitcake is watching you so you better put your shirt on because you can't go to school with no shirt" and the moving from place to place each night type of elf. It is totally fun.

So, we have made a lot of changes for the better over the last few years. But is it enough? I thought I was doing pretty well...until this started going around on Facebook. 

When I first saw this I thought "You know what? I am doing pretty well for a single mom dangit. I give. I go. I make sure my kids know what Christmas is SUPPOSED to be all about. I don't want to deprive them of having a good Christmas!". Ewwwwww. Honesty is sometimes ugly. So then I put on my big girl panties and quit whining and tried to find a solution to my dilemma. How can I have a good Christmas with my family but yet balance that against the urgent physical and spiritual need in our world?

First let me say, praise be to God that I even have this problem. I am so blessed not only to live in such an affluent nation, but also to have jobs that allow me to have to put a "cap" on what I spend on my kids for Christmas. And I am not talking about how much debt I ring up every year because I have never "charged" a dime for Christmas stuff (or any stuff for that matter for years). Live within your means people. I digress.

So on to the "solution". At least the one for my family and for this year. Hopefully, God will continue to grow and stretch me over the years and soon even this won't feel like enough.

David Platt suggested this to our church a couple of years ago. I didn't like it then. I don't really like it now, but I am going to force myself to do it this year. He suggested that whatever we spend on our family for Christmas, we should match and give the same amount to urgent physical and spiritual need around the world. That means above and beyond our normal tithe, sponsorships etc....(sorry already thought about that). Here is how this will break down for me:

1. $150 for each child, and $40-$50 for each parent and my brother, depending on how much I like them at time of purchase. So, the max I will allow myself to spend on my family for Christmas this year is $450. Sounds like a lot more when you add it all up doesn't it! I keep a running list along with my receipts to make sure I stay on budget.....it looks something like this (don't tell my kids what they are getting for Christmas please):

2. Brook Hills has a collection at the end of the year called the "Global Offering" which is above and beyond our normal giving and goes (obviously) to global needs. I will give part of my $450 to that. I will also give a part of it to the Compassion International Child Survival Program because they are directly helping children to live and mothers to learn how to help their children live. I am not sure about the rest....or maybe I will just split it between those two. But that is just what I am planning to do........

This is the best plan I can come up with today so I am going to stick with it. Who wants to commit to do it with me? Comment here or send me a message if your family wants to be a part of this. I would love to update everyone from now through Christmas with a running list of all the families who will do this with us! We can all be accountable to each other, and hopefully impact our friends, families, and the WORLD!

Imagine if all of us "Christians" were able to live within our means, stay on budget, and give extravagantly to urgent needs around the world this Christmas.




  1. Alright friends! So far we have Shanna Bahn, the Bozeman family, the Lewis family, the Clark family, the Linderman's and myself on board for the challenge. Who else??????

  2. No adult gifts exchanged in our family. Instead, we use the money we would have spent to purchase gifts for someone in need or donate to a charity.

  3. My three girls are not getting big presents this year. We got together and decided to help a family - another single mom with three children like us - at the Lovelady center. We organized and decorated their small living space and brought them gifts they wanted for Christmas. We are planning on continueing our friendship with this sweet family throughout next year. I will put a few small things in their stockings Christmas morning. We plan on making this a tradition!