We are now through the Christmas season and it’s time to think about perspective and balance with the new year just around the corner. I heard complaining – a LOT of complaining about the “cost” of Christmas and how it has become a boring/stressful/unremarkable/frustrating time of year. This set me to thinking.
Why do some people dread this holiday season?
They forget (or don’t care) about the reason for the season.
They wait until the last minute to buy gifts and end up spending too much money.
They take no delight in the music or decorations, seeing them as commercial and garish – reminders of the stress of the Christmas season.
They see their family and friends as sponges, trying to suck the life out of them – they are hard to buy for or appear unthankful and selfish.
Their gift giving becomes an expected competition that brings no satisfaction.
Why do some people L.O.V.E. the Christmas season?
Their focus is on those they love and Christ.
They’ve creatively plotted and planned all year for decorations and gift giving.
The food, music and seasonal decorations are amazing and their heart is comforted.
They spend more time with family realizing how blessed they are.
They enjoy seeing the delight on my family and friends’ faces when they give them their special gift.
Point #5 Three days ago on December 23 my mom passed away. That's just two days before Christmas. I surely wish I could have seen the delight on my mother's facewhen she saw that I had found the corner lazy susan she searched for more than a year. My kids have bags full of gifts for a grandmother that didn't come upstairs yesterday morning like she had for the past 13 years. Yes, we still had joy on Christmas day. Why? Our joy at Christmas is a choice. It's all about perspective.
All day today while I was out shopping with Mark, April, Taylor and Jillian I kept thinking, "Mom could use that for Christmas next year." Then I remembered Mom wasn't with us any more. Sometimes you have to work hard at choosing joy – but you can do it!
It’s all about perspective.
I’m a penny pinching, clearance searching, garage saler, dyed in the wool DIY’er, which means I don’t spend the big bucks others do at Christmas time because I spend the whole year planning for Christmas. I watch for clues about what each person lacks or loves and try to find something special to “wow” them. My fave part of the gift opening is watching and waiting for that, “Ahhh! How did you know?” or “I can’t believe you did/found/made this!”
I don’t spend much money. I look for deals all year long. I make a lot of my gifts. But I don’t make those cheesy, cheap and tacky gifts that go in the trash as soon as they get home. I have a rule – it must look professional or it’s a no-go gift.
Last year I found a really nice and solid wooden child’s rocking chair that was a bit scuffed up at Goodwill for $3.00 and I spray painted it a soft vanilla color and put a huge red bow on it for my 2 year old grandson. It looked brand new out of the box.
I gave that gift with great confidence. I KNEW it was right.
Rocking chair – $3.00
Spray Paint – $3.57
Look on his face when he put his favorite bear in his new rocking chair – Priceless
When my daughter, Jillian, was in high school she had told me several times she would like to have a gum ball machine. I spent years looking for one of those old wrought iron pedestal gumball machines. I found one at an auction once, but the glass was broken. I never stopped looking. Two years ago I found one (unfortunately NOT on a pedestal) at Kohls half price and I had a $10 off $10 purchase coupon.
I got it for $3.00. When she opened it last Christmas she said with misty eyes, (this still makes ME misty) “I can’t believe you remembered that!” She was 23, married and in her 6th year of college and still wished for a gumball machine.
Last year Jillian and Taylor got into an accident on the highway on their way home to Virginia (Crisis on the Home Front – Are You Prepared?). They totaled their car but they were not hurt. We knew we were very fortunate to have them this Christmas.
It’s not about the money.
Someone told me they spent $3500 on Christmas gifts last year – they were resentful. That’s not Christmas, at least not MY Christmas.
We need to keep perspective. We gift because we love others. We search for just the right gift – to make sure our statement is just right,
“I give you this gift because I want to show you that you mean a lot to me.”
We get creative partly because we want to spend as little as possible and partly because we want to send the right message.
This is why I DIY.
It saves money.
It allows me to personalize my gifts.
I love to be creative and use my gifts to bless others.
One-of-a-kind gifts are, well, one-of-a-kind.
I believe we should reuse/upcycle/remake/transform rather than buy new if possible. (I’m not a tree hugger, but I do believe we waste a lot of our resources whether it be money, time, or possessions).
I don’t believe we need to "Do WithOut” to bless others. I "Do It Yourself" for myself as well as others.
Let me explain #6
I no longer DWO, I DIY…
I used to live like a poor person – at least in my head. I thought that since we were short on cash I couldn’t have nice things. I thought my ability to bless others required lots of cash and if I blessed others, I had to DWO (Do WithOut). Bonkers, I know. I’ve wised up and now I want you to wise up too.
Is this you?
You can’t justify buying things for yourself or your house because you’re so tight financially? Yet, you never think twice about spending money on the kids, giving to charity, or supporting ministry. I honestly thought it was my Christian duty to DWO. DWO was a way we could show humility and be a blessing to others.
But doing without, or DWO, always leaves you with a little dull nagging pain that never goes away. In the back of your mind you tell yourself you DWO so others might have what they need – so you can be a blessing to others. Honestly? That stinks. Oops, did I say that out loud?
Seriously. There is no reason you can’t do both.
You can bless others and have a fabulous home. Just Do.It.Yourself. No one else is going to do it for you. I know that for a fact. Don’t wait for your ship to come in. Don’t wait until someone sees your need (they never will) and don’t wait for things to get better. Just DIY.
Few of us can go out and buy whatever we want. Most of us must manage what we have, being careful not to waste our resources. There is no better way to stretch that dollar than to DIY both to have a fab home and to bless others.
Frugality ≠ DWO
Frugality means you are keeping your eyes peeled for good deals or opportunities, knowing what to do with them, and can change them (DIY) to suit personal needs or desires. To DIY to take something that is not usable by someone else, is out of date, broken, or just plain ugly, and turn it into something fabulous for home or family, or come up with a product or method that meets a need, saves money, effort or time.
Are you a DIY'er or DWO'er?
You can see Christmas in a new light. Adjust your buying habits. Begin next year with a new perspective. Make a list of those you wish to gift and then listen and watch for clues. Frequent second hand and consignment shops. Hey, dumpster dive if you’re adventuresome (Dresser Turned TV Stand)! Watch for garage sales and “junk” alongside the road. Constantly be looking for deals and then paint, add to, or replace parts to make it one of a kind gift. DIY and stop DWOing!