Giving on a Budget

9:00 AM

Confession: I L-O-V-E CHRISTMAS!!! I love the snow not the cold as it makes my fibromyalgia flare up but the beauty of all the world covered in the beautiful purifying white powder is breathe taking.
I love the twinkly lights. I prefer multicolored scenes however a traditional house simply decorated in white lights can be gorgeous!
I love beautifully wrapped presents under a decorated tree with homemade ornaments waiting to be opened by eager children.
I love the songs! "Mary Did You Know" gives me goosed bumps every time I hear it. What is more powerful than the idea that a baby will change the world? Could you imagine being the mother of a child with such prophecy! Overwhelming!
I love the smells of baking cookies and what is better than scented candles extending those delicious scents.
Most importantly I L-O-V-E the togetherness of family and friends.
For me Christmas has NEVER been about what can I get but about how can I bless you! I was taught at a young age to ALWAYS appreciate what I received from others because that simple gift could be all they have.
I remember being in the position of having nothing a couple of different times. I do not mean oh I didn't have what I wanted type of having nothing. I literally had nothing but the clothing on my back and no place to sleep. Due to different circumstances my family experienced multiple house fires. I remember living with my Aunt and Uncle while my parents and younger brother lived in a camper on my grandparents property. Our house and all that was inside was lost including our Christmas gifts.

My family received donations of clothing, food, appliances, all basic needs. We moved into an adopted family members home just before Christmas. This was the best Christmas we had! We were able to be together under one roof with our basic needs covered because of the generosity of others. Since that day I vowed to always help others when I could, it also made me realize that we never know what others are going through therefore a simple gesture of kindness may be more than we could understand.

Now as a mom I make it my mission to teach my children this life lesson without them having to experience what I did. In general were encourage acts of kindness however during Christmas I find it more important than ever.
During the summer were were blessed with duplicate copies of books. We took the duplicates and donated them to Toys For Tots. The U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program involves members of the community dropping new, unwrapped toys in collection boxes positioned in local businesses. At Christmas coordinators, with the assistance of local social welfare agencies, church groups, and other local community agencies, distribute the toys to the less fortunate children of the community.

WARNING: The following video is a tear jerker
One of the activities my son and I enjoy doing is making christmas cards for children who are fighting serious illnesses. We find their information on a Facebook page called Operation Christmas Cheer. This letter writing movement in done completely by volunteers sending cards and letters at Christmas time to children who are seriously ill. This awesome program is ran by my sister Roxanne at The Whatever Mom. Roxanne runs Operation Christmas Cheer completely through Facebook. On the Operation Christmas Cheer page you will find a list of children and their addresses. You will also find updates on how they are doing, gofundme pages, facebook pages and any other information the family wants to share. If you decide you want to gift more than a card it is suggested  that you send gas gift cards or restaurant gift cards. This activity cost us $2,00 for sticker strips we added to each card and $4.70 for stamps for a total of $6.70. I think this is a very small price for a simple act of kindness that will hold a big impact for each child receiving a card. 
One of the other ways we enjoy giving some Christmas Cheer to others is at our church. Each year the Sunday School has a small Christmas celebration for the children, this year we are going to bake some treats for them. Also for the Toddler room we put together Christmas sip cups, stickers, spike ball, a paddle ball and a flute all put together in a cloth bag. We wrote the toddler's names on mitten cutouts and tied them to the bags. In total the 8 gift bags cost $9.76. 
In our home we make it a requirement to show kindness to each other and others when we can. This Christmas we are focusing on three Acts of Kindness. 

For Act 1 we are going to show kindness to our neighbors by baking zucchini bread with the frozen zucchini from out garden. This will cost us $2.75 for a bag of flour and a box of wax paper to wrap the finished bread we will place in mailboxes.

For Act 2 we are decorating coffee cups with sharpies, filling the cup with a pack of hot Chocolate, adding a candy cane and a few hershey kissed. These Cups of Warmth will go to my children's teachers. The cost for 4 cups will be $2,39. 

For Act 3 we are making more zucchini bread for our church family. We will cover the cost of 35 loaves with $8.50. 
For all the Christmas Giving we only spent a total of $30.71. Another Confession: I bought most of the Christmas supplies during last year's after Christmas sales. As I confessed at the beginning of this post I L-O-V-E CHRISTMAS!!! I plan a year ahead for everything because I live on a very tight budget. We also save money on presents for the children by shopping during all the sales all year round. My children will have 22 gifts each under the tree and a few stocking stuffers and I spent less than $200. I have most of the shopping done before black friday and purchase only the bigger gifts then. I also do a lot of shopping online during sales.

How do you give on a budget? What ways do you save money?

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  1. Great post! My family makes nominal charity donations in each others' names.

  2. Very cool. My kids write a handful of cards to the kids at Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia and we make a monetary donation. They also have to give away toys to receive more for Christmas.

    1. I love that I am not the only one who has the kids donate their gently used and out grown toys before Christmas.

  3. I love the picture of the tree lights faded out and the mug in front of it! I was just taking some photos this last weekend that were kinda like that. Great post!

    1. Thank you. I love playing with the focus on my pictures. Christmas lights make a great background when in focus or not.

  4. Great tips to save money (: The dollar store and the target dollar spot are some of my favorite places to get smaller trinkets to add to gifts, to buy tissue paper/bags and cards. I do some shopping throughout the year and look out for sales. I also take advantage of coupons I receive in my e-mail or the mail :).