This Christmas, we are scaling back. We are newly wed, and newly frugal. Because I have been on medical leave for depressive symptoms related to my bi-polar, we have less for Christmas gifts this year than either of us had as singles last year.
Somehow, it seems like we have more now than ever.
Gifts are important in my family. They represent the depth of relationship that we have with each other and our intimate knowledge of each other’s likes and dislikes. My closest family has doubled with the addition of David’s parents, siblings and niece.
I was stressing out about Christmas gifts even before Thanksgiving. I became an obsessive DIY Pinterest fanatic, frantically searching for items we could create that would please various family members. You know you’ve spent too much time on Pinterest when you keep coming across the same recipe for DIY Kool-Aid Lip Balm.
What were we going to do about gifts this year? How could we keep to our limited budget and still honor these people who are precious to us?
David and I finally sat down to discuss my mounting stress. As we talked, it became clear that my perspective was warped. I was looking for perfection, which doesn’t exist, and doing it all myself with no thought to David or to the Lord.
Jesus, in His infinite compassion, showed me this brokenness and blessed us. Turns out that gifts, while valued in David’s family, tend to have a practical bent and do not carry the same great weight that gifts do in my family. Furthermore, we are not as hard-up as I thought. We put together a small budget and prayed that He would provide gifts with what we could offer.
Christmas gifts mean a lot to me. Too much, sometimes. I am easily distracted from the One who gave of Himself so freely. And in this season where we are scaling back, we find that we have an abundance.
With a little creativity and a lot of faith, we have been able to find lovely little gifts that each person in the family will appreciate. David, who runs his own IT business, even gave us a Christmas bonus so we could get a tree. The lights twinkle the ornaments, the fruit of years of giving from family and friends. It is so beautiful that I can’t believe it is ours. Our living room smells of fresh Fraser fir and the spice from the snowflake ornament that is oiled in cinnamon.
These are simple gifts. They point back to He who gave the best He had, a baby born in a smelly barn to simple folk with little means. To them, to us, He gives more than we could ever ask or imagine.