Losing a Job Doesn't Mean Losing the Holidays

5 years ago

My husband lost his job at the end of September, and we went from being a solidly two-income family to a more precarious single-income one. The holidays suddenly loomed very large in the metaphorical window for me, even though they were months away. Not wanting my daughter to have a one-bear Christmas, I thought about the very good advice my father gave me when I was a teenager: You can do almost anything if you have enough of either time or money. And I had three months.

Fast forward to now. It's the beginning of November, our situation hasn't changed, and my Christmas presents are almost done. My girl is getting a ton of Ebayed, Craigslisted and thrifted gifts that either look new or weren't supposed to in the first place (vintage doll furniture, anyone?). And the rest of my family? The fruits of my crafted labor. The best part is that making their presents gave me lots of time to sit with their personalities, what they would like and how much I love them.

Credit Image: Cuttlefish on Flickr

I chose to make our gifts because I didn't want to hand out cheap crap or put anything on our already full credit cards, and the extra I usually save out of each paycheck for such things was going to the electricity bill. When I started out with my first project, I was harrumphing at the thought of all the work I had ahead of me, but I ended up sort of soothed by the monotony of my preparations and the real satisfaction that comes from making something with my hands instead of my brain. It's true I would've liked to not have my projects all over my kitchen for the past month, but seeing them come incrementally together was rewarding. My daughter even made a few things for her friends.

Now that I only have a few easy things left to make, I'm also realizing I'M ALMOST DONE. Stuff's made, stuff's wrapped, and the frenzy of holiday shopping hasn't even started yet. I'm not going to have to pay way-extra shipping at the last minute or sweat even one store. Instead I can actually enjoy putting up the tree instead of slapping it together or make some more cookies or watch Christmas movies with my family. I've even decided our budget is an excellent excuse to skip the holiday cards this year, unless something changes by December 1.

This post is kicking off BlogHer's Do Less, Love More series. The recession kicked the community in the butt, Hurricane Sandy wrecked the East Coast instead of letting them trick-or-treat, and if the Mayans are right the world is ending next month. Let's skip the extra work this season and enjoy the holidays. Who's with me?

Rita Arens authors Surrender, Dorothy and is the editor of the award-winning parenting anthology Sleep is for the Weak. She is the senior editor for BlogHer.com.

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