For the Heart
It happened to us five years ago. December 5, 2008.
It was no fun at all!
My Man was just coming out of rehab and he had no work. His land surveying business was dead and he had no job. I was substitute teaching at the high school, but I only got paid for the days I worked and at $75 a day that wasn’t much. I was looking at just over two weeks with no work at all because of the Christmas break, not to mention it would be 6 weeks before I was paid again!
It was scary enough not knowing how we were going to pay the bills and buy groceries. How in the world were we going to get presents for Christmas?
It is scary, sad and frustrating, not to mention anxious to be jobless at Christmas. I’m hoping I can give you a little hope if this is what you are going through right now. Here is what I have learned.
1) Pray! Tell God how you are feeling; how scared you are, how mad you are, how you have no idea how you are going to do this. Then ask for His wisdom and the right attitude in handling this month and all that comes with it.
2) Keep your focus on Jesus. He is the reason for the season. I know it is hard to do this. I know you may be angry with Him for allowing you to go through this hard time, but He will bring good out of it for you and glory for Himself! He has promised to never leave you nor forsake you and He won’t. He has plans for you. Plans to prosper you (although it might not feel like it at the moment) and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future. Claim those promises! To help you focus, read your Bible more and memorize verses. A good place to stadt is Psalm 34. Check my Facebook page each day for verses that focus on Him.
3) Be honest with the kids about the presents. My kids were older (middle and high school), so they understood better, but it still wasn’t easy. I hated telling them “we just don’t have the money.” Young kids are smarter than you think. They have their ways of knowing. When I was nine years old, my dad had lost his job and I knew we were having financial problems because there weren’t as many presents under the tree. Kids know. You can’t hide it. They won’t be as disappointed if they are warned.
4) Don’t be embarrassed or afraid to ask for help. If you need it, just ask.
5) Make memories! Lots and lots of memories! The kids won’t remember what they got for Christmas, but they will remember driving to look at Christmas lights, or baking cookies, or making Christmas decorations for the tree, or making presents for others, or making Christmas cards! They will remember the time spent together. That is really the best present you can give them anyway.
6) Homemade gifts mean the most! I still see the gifts I made my sisters hanging on the walls of their homes. My nephew still talks about the apple pie I gave him one year. We kept the building block My Man made the twins forever! They loved them. My favorite gift I got from a student was a homemade wreath made from pine cones. That was over 20 years ago! I don’t have it anymore, but it’s the only gift I remember. What are you good at? Use those skills to make your gifts. Can you at least follow a recipe or directions? If so, I have one word for you…Pinterest!!! Tons of ideas. I’ll get you started.
- Use scrape material to make a special pillow or doll
- Make cookies
- Crochet, knit or cross-stitch/embroider something
- One 2 x 4 can make a ton of building blocks (make sure it isn’t treated wood)
- Write a letter to a loved one
- Use some yarn or embroidery thread to make bracelets.
7) Scale back on the gifts you give to family and friends. If you really can not afford them anything, just tell them so. They will understand. If not…well…
8) Your kids probably want to give gifts, too. Help your kids to make gifts for others. Again, memories are made, as well as special gifts.
9) Enjoy any and all Christmas related activities your kids are involved in. Plays, concerts, church programs. Let then know that those are their gift to you. Again, memories! Best gift is time.
10) On Christmas day, spend some time in prayer thanking God for all He has done for you. Spend time playing with your kids. Go for a walk with your better half. Focus on what you have and praising God for His gift to you. Let your gift to God be your praise to Him.
11) The day after Christmas, praise God that a jobless Christmas wasn’t as bad as you thought it was going to be. Thank Him for giving you the wisdom and the right attitude that you asked for to get you through this.
Know that I will be saying a prayer for you this Christmas season.
I know how hard it is and how scared you are. We are still having to follow this advice. Now, MM has the work and I don’t. haha. Things are still tight, but I’m learning that everything will be alright if I just put it all in God’s hands and trust Him. I might not have the “big” Christmas I would like to have, but I have what matters the most, my family! Just to have my family with me means everything to me.