Yesterday, was our annual Christmas Bazaar for our church. We have a cookie walk, luncheon, and crafts. We raise money for various projects in both the community and the church. It’s something I’ve gone to for as long as I can remember. It’s a right of passage when a mama brings her daughter. It’s so nice to see everyone dressed festively, there are great prizes to win and it’s the kick off to my own Christmas season.
At times it’s also made me sad. Knowing that Christmas is right around the corner and we aren’t prepared. One year on the way home in the car with my mom I bawled. I KNEW we were going to have an awful Christmas. We had 3 little kids 4 months, 9 and 5. Our home was gutted because we had so many problems with it. My husband had moved us to our finished basement but you had to go through the garage to get to the basement. I was unconsolable. I always tried to put religion in Christmas and I always tried to teach my children right, but we had nothing that year. My mom dropped me off and I’m sure she didn’t feel good about it. I had won a cookbook and a savings bond at the luncheon. Neither of which I could give my kids for Christmas.
That evening my husband called to tell me he was working late and I said a prayer and bundled up the kids. I grabbed a sled and made them all sit in it with their baby brother. I grabbed an ax and trudged through knee deep snow to the very back of our property. I told the kids to pick a tree. Years earlier my husband and I had planted many pine trees as a wind break but if we were going to have a tree one had to go. They picked the ugliest tree. It had hardly any branches and what it did have were sticking out all over. I cut that tree down with a lot of guilt and shame. My brave 5 year old boy and daughter dragged it back to the house while I pulled baby Quinn home in the sled.
When we got in I warmed up the kids and we struggled to get the tree into a stand. Let’s just say it didn’t have a nice trunk like the ones you buy off a tree lot. I looked at the tree and my eyes leaked, but my kids were in love. This has since been lovingly named our “Charlie Brown Tree”. The kids were bubbling with excitement to decorate and I told them this year was going to be different and we were going to make all of the ornaments, hoping that giving them glitter, coffee filters, markers, crayons and such would keep them busy for a few hours. I was was wrong through, this kept them busy for days. They were so proud of that tree and I would sit and look at it in amazement, it truly was beautiful. It was decorated with love.
I hung their stockings and had to seriously think about how to fill them affordably, and I KNEW on our small budget there was no way they would get the items on their Christmas lists, but little did I know that God heard my prayers and was at work in ways I could never have imagined.
My mom traded my cookbook and savings bond with an older woman at church that had won an American Girl Doll. I found a small wooden train set for Ian that wasn’t Thomas the Train but it was still the wooden train set he wanted for under $20. There were little Yoplait Yogurt deals to send in for Thomas and Friends Trains by sending in proofs of purchase and like $1. Quinn at 4 months wasn’t going to be hard to please. I frantically clipped coupons and got a lot that made candy, toothpaste, toothbrushes etc free. I cashed those in and stuffed the stockings.
To say it was stressful would be an understatement, but it taught us all that there is so much more to Christmas than gifts. We adored that tree and it’s decorations. We loved snuggling up on the couch and watching Christmas cartoons and looking at the tree. And today, my older kids still talk about our “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree”.
Share a Christmas story with us. I’d love to hear about yours.