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This Holiday, We Will Go Without Presents ....

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Guest blogger Sara: I can't believe the holidays are right around the corner! In all honesty, I don't feel as if we even got to enjoy the summer. The financial stresses and pressures our family felt this year were enormous, and took a huge toll on our lifestyle and relationship. I think the kids could feel the strain in the air -- there were definitely moments we almost lost it in front of them, but we managed to stay on one another's team (for the most part). That said, we will have to make some changes this holiday season which will directly affect the kids. Presents ....

family holiday
Though our two kids are really too young to fully understand Christmas, we have celebrated with gifts under the tree since they were born. There is something about seeing the tree with tons of presents underneath it .... But this year, due to me having been laid off because of the economy, and my husband's business being in the gutter, we've decided to give just one gift each -- a very small gift. So instead of the tree being filled with bright and colorful presents, it will be more sparse. We will fill up the time it would typically take to unwrap gifts to do other things: Have a family breakfast; go see the extended family; take a trip to the park and do what is truly important.

Will we explain why our kids aren't getting tons? If they were a few years older, we would. We might say there were a lot more kids Santa had to get to this year, so we had to share. We might say something about appreciating many of the other things in our lives -- Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, the food in our fridge, our health, our dogs. Let's face it: We are more than blessed to be together and celebrate the holidays. Many are in hospitals, or going through real trauma, or have lost someone in their family, or have worse problems than not being able to afford a lot of gifts.

Maybe we will start a precedent: that even when the finances are flowing, we won't continue to do a lot of gifts. Maybe we will make a permanent swap to just give one or two gifts, and that's it. Maybe we will try to reinforce the REAL things, and maybe that will be the biggest gift ....

next: Chicken & Prosciutto Tortellini with Creamy Butternut Thyme Sauce
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