Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cutting too Many Corners

I went into this Christmas season, set on not spending one more cent than necessary, only to turn around and see that I was buying Christmas decorations and lights that weren't in the budget at all.  First, I accused myself of irresponsibility and wanting to 'keep up with the Joneses,' because all of this was prompted by photos of others' warmly decorated homes shown on a discussion on the Gardenweb kitchen forum.

Truthfully, although one could argue that any spending over that which one can afford is too much, I was being very frugal in my selections.  Light sets from $2.79 to $9.99 were the priciest things I bought, and the other decorations probably totaled under $40.  It still seemed like frivolous spending with weak justification.

BUT, my attitude about this changed a lot when my 7 year old Prince CuddleBunny expressed appreciation for the extra efforts I was putting into decorating our home.  
He had been noting the extra touches I kept making to the stairway lighting, turning it from just a string of lights to garland and lights, then to a more polished garland with ornaments and other festive additions. I wish I could remember his exact words, but it clearly made a difference to him, and he didn't see it as frivolity, but as a gift.

Without being motivated by his inspiration, I would've left my gift for
Hubby (on the right), just like it was, but I added ribbon and made a bow
This week he and I were wrapping Hubby's birthday gifts together, and I watched him painstakingly tie and curl ribbon for the nicest looking package he could manage.  It was so important that he do it, and it didn't even occur to him to do something simpler.  So, thinking of his comments about the Christmas decorations, and in sharing the package-wrapping moment with him, I wondered, what happened to me?!

I used to be famous... in my family... or, at least, with one of my brothers who especially appreciated it... for the creative ways I decorated packages with ribbon.  I remember doing things like forming a Christmas tree shape of ribbon with a curly topper, or at least, doing more intricate designs with multiple ribbons and bows.  I put the same amount of effort into each, and made sure not one was like another.

Eventually, I switched to ribbon with pre-made bows.  Later, I skipped the bows, and then, finally the ribbon.  Instead of making a little card to attach, I'd write directly on the wrapping paper.

From the post: Who Was That Woman?
I've shared previously about my bare-bones Christmas decorations (tree, lights, and Nativity scene), and about how I no longer craft the interest-focused birthday cakes I did for the older kids.  I have planned less, and been stingier with my time.  And accomplished what with that time instead?  I couldn't say.  

The other kids either didn't notice the downhill slide in such things, or haven't verbalized the things they've noticed, like Prince CuddleBunny has.  I am thankful to be reminded-- while I still have time --to do a better job warming my home and going the extra mile for my family.  Definitely a new thing to work on.  It will enrich my own days, too, I'm sure.

It's not that I want to give myself more stress, or become some sort of 'Stepford wife' or, even, a 'SuperMom.'  I just want to do what I take on to a fuller, more intentional extent, and be more present in the moments... Blessing my family in special ways, rather than dashing things together and moving onto something else, when that something else is, too likely, sitting at the computer.
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