Sunday, November 14, 2010

Holiday cheer? What's that this year?

I know the holidays are coming up, so what the heck is wrong with me?!  I am having a serious lack of motivation to get into the holiday spirit.  Don't get me wrong!  I am completely, 100% thrilled, ecstatic, and enamored to be going home for the holidays this year.  BOTH of the major holidays!  That hasn't happened in a long while.  It's just,  I have a lack of enthusiasm in getting our family involved in our typical traditions.  (Halloween almost entirely escaped me--besides, a pumpkin and some colorful corn husks, we didn't do one bit of decorating.  NOR did we do our usual chili in pumpkin bowl dinner--it didn't help, of course, that Camden ended up with a 104 degree fever on Halloween which prevented our trick-or-treating escapades and some dressing up in costume).  Why has this happened?! How can I get into the spirit?

Let me explain a few of my ideas before you shower me with yours (and please do).  First of all, we are potentially moving by the end of this year.  Potential is a stretch, as thus far, we have not nailed down a job following graduation.  So whether or not we are moving is pending.  Who wants to get out boxes of decor (even if that is a minimal amount) only to pack it all back up before the season ends and move on?  Don't pick me...

The second, and probably the reason most directly affecting my current problem, is in actuality, related to reason numero uno.  We do not have money with which to purchase gifts.  Okay, okay.  Some people's response would be...what happened to your 3-6 month emergency money supply?!  My response to that would be that it went out the window about 4 years ago when we were paying $6000 every four months for both of us to finish school.  Finish I have, finish Devin will, and hopefully, the emergency supply will come with a job (don't get me on that again :O).  But it's been pretty much non-existent (plus less) while Devin works only 16 hours at the Carpenter shop weekly, and I am trying to stay at home/earn money at home, to recover what cannot be earned monetarily by following BYU's 20 hour work week policy to cover our monthly bills.  I am currently in the market for additional ideas. 

Third, perhaps it has been my failing health this past year? Am I simplifying out of necessity?  I seriously have the energy to only do the necessary things.  Maybe those other things just really aren't necessary after all?  But I'd like to create sweet memories for my children--if it's not possible to permanently ingrain it in their minds at young ages, at least in pictures.

Now that I'm off my soap box (or am I??), realize, I know that it's always a possibility to make gifts.  I, however, have no idea what I can make for Devin, Camden, my family (3 siblings, two parents, 2 sets of grandparents), and my husband's family (7 siblings, 2 parents, a niece, and 1 set of grandparents) on a $30 budget.  And some of that is probably money we don't actually have, but I am fooling myself into believing we do so I don't feel like a complete and utter failure.  You see, gift giving is BY FAR one of my favorite things to do.  There is literally an emptiness inside of me since we've been married because of my lack of funds to support this lovely hobby.  Does anyone out there have any ideas?  I am really needing something to get me into the holiday spirit*, and searching for gifts to give to my beloved family is a great contributor to making that happen.  I just LOVE seeing faces light up!

*(I'm talking excitement wise, NOT spiritually-minded, as Christ will always be the main focus of our Christmas experience and I know it will still be a wonderful Christmas without gifts because of the real celebration of that day)

My family is just so very generous to us all throughout the year.  It would be wonderful to attempt to make up at least 1% of that generosity!

P.S.  Making my own decorations to get in the spirit is likely not an option (including garage sales--because my mother-in-law does that for us for Camden's clothes--which I say "THANK YOU, THANK YOU" repeatedly because it literally saves us!), due to lack of funds.  Unless, of course, you know of places I can pick up FREE DIY Thanksgiving/Christmas decor items :O)  Which, by the way, I would love dearly; especially if it's something Camden and I could do together while Devin's at school/work.

And any and all prayers are appreciated as we are in the limbo process of Devin's future career, and will be out of a job come the end of December (due to the fact that Devin's job is a student one--in which he needs to be a STUDENT to keep).  I'm not stressing....yet :O)

Love to you all! And here's to hoping your holiday spirit is coming more easily to you this year than it is to me!  It can certainly make for a light, more joyful season if it so occurs!

7 comments:

Lindzie said...

How do you feel about ornanments? Micheals has some DIY ones that were pretty inexpensive. Also, snapfish.com, persnicketprints.com, and shutterfly.com have some pretty awesome picture books, picture projects, etc for relatively cheap. If you don't want to pay for shipping, persnickety prints is in Orem and you can actually pick up stuff from their store. They do an amazing job. I bet Grandparents and great grandparents would enjoy a nice picture of Camden. How do you feel about me making up a nice picture in Photoshop for you? I would be willing to help you out if you needed with any ideas or just help in general. I'll get a list of places I get inspiration from that have fun, cute, cheap ideas. The holidays don't have to be fancy by any means. Each year I've noticed things keep getting simplier for us. It's just better this way. Hope that helps. :)

Jaimee said...

Hi Meghan, Just wanted to give you a little bit of encouragement from your cousin. I know how you feel and so do LOTS of other people (within our family even). It is hard to get through school. It is hard to pay for it. The holidays are especially hard (especially when you are too far away to make it to see your family and don't have the funds to pay to get there). I have had these same feelings at holiday times and after the holidays are over I always wonder what I was so worried about. The kids end up with fabulous gifts from their grandparents and other family. You are in a great place in life, where you have one kid and you are both finished with school. That is awesome! Be proud of what you and Devin have accomplished and realize that one day you will be able to give back to those who have helped you through the tight times. Gift giving is a lot of fun, but I like to think of the times we haven't been able to give much as the times I have grown closer to my little family and to my Heavenly Father as I focus on the things that matter. People who love you will realize what state of life you are in and don't expect as much from you as you expect of yourself. Loves!

Cindy said...

I made jam for members of my family once when I was a student.

Go to DI and buy the tiny jelly jars. Or, if your mom has some, ask her if you can raid them. Or, you can just ask if anyone has some you can have. Most older ladies have a basement full of them that they aren't using anymore.

Here are some cheap, but wonderful kinds to make:
1) Grape jelley. It can actually be made with frozen grape juice right from the store.
2) Pepper Jelly. This is festive and fabulous poured on a block of cream cheese and surrounded by crackers. Of course, you are just giving the jam! Here is the Paula Deen recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/pepper-jelly-recipe/index.html
3) Apple Jam. My daughter in law makes this for next to nothing and we all head for it whenever she brings it out. Grab a bag of the cheapest apples you can find and you are good to go.

By the way, we gave up expensive gift giving when Christmas became a burden rather than a joyous occasion. We do buy one inexpensive gift for each of our grandchildren. For the adults, we have what we call a cheap gift exchange. Each person coming buys a generic gift. It can come from a yard sale, be homemade, or from a sale at the store. However, it can not cost more than ten dollars. We conduct it like a white elephant exchange and it is a ton of fun.

If you are looking for more ideas, we have also done a fishing game. Rig up your barrier with some chairs and a blanket. Get some kind of stick & string with a clothespin attached, then have each person fish for their present. You can glue a candy bar onto a square of poster board with a silly or serious poem about each person written on it.

Use the creativity Heavenly Father planted in your brain and refuse to let the adversary taint your enjoyment of this special holiday.

Cindy said...

I made jam for members of my family once when I was a student.

Go to DI and buy the tiny jelly jars. Or, if your mom has some, ask her if you can raid them. Or, you can just ask if anyone has some you can have. Most older ladies have a basement full of them that they aren't using anymore.

Here are some cheap, but wonderful kinds to make:
1) Grape jelley. It can actually be made with frozen grape juice right from the store.
2) Pepper Jelly. This is festive and fabulous poured on a block of cream cheese and surrounded by crackers. Of course, you are just giving the jam! Here is the Paula Deen recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/pepper-jelly-recipe/index.html
3) Apple Jam. My daughter in law makes this for next to nothing and we all head for it whenever she brings it out. Grab a bag of the cheapest apples you can find and you are good to go.

By the way, we gave up expensive gift giving when Christmas became a burden rather than a joyous occasion. We do buy one inexpensive gift for each of our grandchildren. For the adults, we have what we call a cheap gift exchange. Each person coming buys a generic gift. It can come from a yard sale, be homemade, or from a sale at the store. However, it can not cost more than ten dollars. We conduct it like a white elephant exchange and it is a ton of fun.

If you are looking for more ideas, we have also done a fishing game. Rig up your barrier with some chairs and a blanket. Get some kind of stick & string with a clothespin attached, then have each person fish for their present. You can glue a candy bar onto a square of poster board with a silly or serious poem about each person written on it.

Use the creativity Heavenly Father planted in your brain and refuse to let the adversary taint your enjoyment of this special holiday.

llcall said...

Neal and I have spent the last few years trying to come up with inexpensive gifts, so he are some of our ideas:
-photo of family/kiddo: we are not doing anything too fancy, about $2 for an 8x10, but grandparents should still love them.
-certificates/IOUs: i am the queen of these, e.g., "I owe you 1 day of cleaning around the house", etc. (I am not always the queen of following through however, but I'm workin gon it ;)
-meals/desserts in a jar: I received this recipe and loved it, so I'm thinking of doing it:
http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/cranberry-hootycreeks/Detail.aspx

Also, this has a soup recipe I'm thinking about:
http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2010/10/22/homemade-gift-series-6-meals-in-a-jar/

Actually this blog that I follow is doing a whole series on homemade gifts, so I'm trying to get ideas from that:
http://www.thesimpledollar.com/category/homemade-gifts/

I don't know exactly how much these would cost because I haven't done them yet, but they seem like a good idea. Especially if you have a special recipe or signature dish. (I obviously don't, hence I rely on the interwebs ;) Good luck!

We'll be praying for a job! It's hard to live with so much uncertainty, especially if you're someone that thinks a lot about virtually every possibility, which I know you are (me too).

Carissa Rasmussen said...

Creaturecomfortsblog.com had great DIY deco ideas, like big fluffy snowballs out of napkins and spray painted and glittered pumpkins (bought on Halloween clearance). For a tree I love the idea off all felt ornaments, adorable stuffed birds and then popcorn and cranberry garlands, all that cost under a dollar to make!! My mom also makes huge ribbon bows using clearance holiday ribbon to take up space. I love crocheted snowflakes and jingle bells, but if that's too time consuming then sometimes you can find inexpensive one at the dollar store.
As far as gifts for family, I made a skirt for my sister from $1.00/yd fabric from Walmart and matched it with cute earrings I found at Forever 21 for $1.50. My mom I bought a generic handsfree set for her phone on amazon for $8.00, my dad we found some jumper cables for $12, my MIL some slippers online for $10 and my FIL the new Glen Beck book for $15 on amazon...I love Amazon. Well maybe that's a little more than $30 but maybe some good ideas!! Hopefully that helps

Garrett and Kaylee Edwards said...

Our finances are tight too. (I think there are few people who aren't feeling that way.)Three or four years ago Garrett's boss gave him a homemade book that contained several Christmas stories. The stories are tender and inspiring...many of them have stuck with me through the years. So I recreated a book for all my family this year. The stories really underline the TRUE meaning of Christmas and really helped me to feel at peace rather than stressed. Let me know if you're interested and I can pass it on to you.