The holidays are a stressful time for SO many people and families. The media and society has programmed our brains. TV commercials, news outlets reviewing toys DAILY, Black Friday, Small Busines Saturday, Cyber Monday…. Buy buy buy! More more MORE! People take out loans for Christmas and spend all year paying them off. How jolly is THAT!?
Growing up, my parents didn’t have much, but we had a LOT. My father was/is self employed and owns a construction company. When I was little, he was just starting out (and now he has an incredibly successful business). My mother was a stay-at-home mom and she helped my father grow his business. (She now is a successful restaurant owner) When Christmas came around, we didn’t have a Christmas tree…we didn’t get gifts…we got MEMORIES! How?? Let’s explore.
Shoppers around the country say they are planning to spend an average of $861 for gifts this holiday season, up from $801 last year according to the 30th annual survey on holiday spending from the American Research Group, Inc. Parents, on average, are planning on spending $271 per child. The average expendature on FOOD is $384. That all ads up! Add gift wrapping, tree, decorations, ELECTRICITY etc and you are talking about thousands! What is the alternative?? I’ll tell you what we did/do…
My parents didn’t have much back them. I remember my sister and I sharing a room and my mother warming our sheets with a hairdryer so they were warm when we climbed into bed because they couldn’t afford to keep the heat turned up in the winter months. I was born in Oklahoma City, OK and for the holidays, we ALWAYS took a family vacation. Always. My mother always felt bad and would get each one of us a little gift because when we’d go back to school everyone would talk about their awesome Christmas presents. Well…I can honestly tell you I don’t remember one gift that I ever received. I DO, however, remember every vacation we spent together.
US News & World Report compiled a list of the 8 Best Affordable Family Vacations. I have been to 6 of the 8 places and to most of them we drove to. We drove from OKC to Pagosa Springs, CO most years…or some other ski resorts in New Mexico (like Red River)…
We would drive through Dallas and up through Amarillo. I remember the Cadillac Ranch in the field off the side of the road and we’d always stop at The Big Texan where we would pay a quarter and play the shooting range game they had there. It was a blast! I ate rattlesnake & gator tail there for the first time.
We would drive through the night up through Santa Fe where we would sometimes stop and eat some killer Mexican food and visit the Indians that sold silver and turquoise jewelery, clothes and trinkets. I still have a bracelet my mom and dad got me from there when I was small. We would walk around and enjoy all of the luminaries, ice sculptures and decorations. Sooo many great memories.
We would alway go with my grandparents and close family friends… I remember one time we had this old Oldsmobile with an 8 track player (I liked pushing the buttons for the tracks) and we were driving down a snowy road in Colorado. There was a blizzard going on and we saw where a car had run off the road. My father got out and went down the embankment to check if the people were ok. They were gone and we figured we’d see them walking up the road. We DID see what we thought was a HUGE man. I remember my dad saying sarcasticly, “We are NOT giving HIM a ride!” As we got closer, much to our amazement, it was a HUGE elk!
One time in Pagosa Springs, the FIRST night we stayed there, the pipes burst and the basement flooded! I remember the adults putting big fans under the carpet to dry it out and running on top of the big bumps that were created. We had a lot of fun.
I learned to ski at Wolf Creek and we would cross county ski when we were tiny on the golf course behind the house. We’d go to the hot springs and check out all of the pools…snowmobile rides through the National Forest, sledding…
I have two small children of my own now and this is a discussion I have had with their dad. My 6 year old started making her Christmas list in September this year and it just made my heart ache! We have LOST the meaning behind Christmas (and so have our children)!
Christmas is supposed to be a time to celebrate Christ’s birth and him dying for our salvation and sins. It’s a time for family and friends and making new memories and being thankful for the belssings we have been given. Somewhere over the past few decades we have lost sight of that. This year I HOPE that you spend money to make more memories vs. buying more gifts that will be forgotten or thrown away in a few months. I lost my little brother in January of this year and I am SO glad and grateful that my parents gave us so many opportunities to make those memories together as a family. I would give anything to spend another day with him…
I hope you enjoyed my blog and here’s to creating NEW memories in 2015!!