So how did Christmas go down in the Casa de Vaesa? Pretty well. I was a bit worried with crazy schedules for three days and kiddos that would get grumpy and overly tired because of missed naps, but honestly I can say that they did very, very well. However, they are still recovering; just today Benjamin skipped lunch and took a nap! Andrew has been taking 2 naps instead of his usual one. And even Meredith is sleeping in until 6am instead of 4am.
They will bounce back.
With having a one income household, there isn't much leftover at the end of the month. So gifts for many people were pictures of the kids, jelly that we made, and homemade scones. The presents that we did have to buy we used coupons and no gift cost us more than $20.
Alan and I both agreed that we don't want the kids associating that the more presents, the better. We don't have that kind of money, even if we did, we wouldn't shower them with tons of presents. Because that's not the meaning of Christmas. Baby Jesus received three presents and so will our little ones. They each received 3 presents; one from mama and daddy, one from the siblings, a present from Santa. Santa also brought a present that they can all play with. Their stockings had items like crayons, sippy cups, and socks.
I went to a second hand store for the kids gifts. I found a Buzz Lightyear and Woody for $7.50 (Target had them for $40 each!) I did buy Meredith the Jesse doll for $18 at Toys R Us since I couldn't find it anywhere else. Still not bad. The big present that Santa brought for all of them to share was the tent. Alan found the wood to make the frame. We only had to buy one piece at the Habitat ReStore for 50 cents. The fabric was the most expensive, thankfully we got it half off and only cost us $20 (most expensive present). Alan and I didn't get each other anything big, we got each other small presents. I went to Goodwill and found him an oil lamp for $8 and a small cooler to take to work for $3. I also got him some socks and candy that he likes. He went to Marshall's and TJ Maxx and found slippers and underwear for me (both less than $8) He went to a consignment store and found a marble rolling pin for $8 (they retail for $90).
More is not better, at least we don't think so. The amount of presents is not an indication of how much you love your kids. I remember seeing a quote that went something like, "It's not the amount of money you spend on your kids, but the amount of time you spend with them." I couldn't agree more. Years down the road, kids will remember the memories, not each and every toy you got them. I clearly remember being just as excited over our little family's Christmas dinner. We got to help plan the menu, and it included food that we didn't have on a normal basis. Some years, we each got a cornish hen, some years it was sea food, other years beef tenderloin with hollandaise sauce.
Plus, the real reason for the season as we all know, is not presents or even Santa. It's something bigger. Something greater than all of us. Something that, even though we can't see, many of us believe. Because He made this all possible by arriving in a simple little manager.