“It’s not what’s under the Christmas tree that matters. It’s who is around it”-Charlie Brown Christmas

Hey, mama.

I know we have never met and you don’t really know me but I have been thinking about you nonstop since all those Christmas commercials started playing.

It seems to start earlier and earlier each year. The catalogs that come in the mail. The stores that play Christmas music in October. The toys that seem to multiply on the shelves as Christmas approaches.

To The Mom Who Struggles To Afford Christmas

So many reminders of this time of year.

So many reminders of the Christmas you wish you could give your kids.

While others around you are buying gifts, taking their kids to Christmas shows and planning extravagant holiday parties, all you feel is stress. And disappointment. And inadequacy.

Trust me, I have been there.

A few years ago, when my daughter was little, my husband and I were not in a good place with money. We were in a decent amount of debt and just making ends meet.

When Christmas rolled around, buying gifts for my daughter was just simply out of the question.

To say I was crushed is an understatement.

Even now, as she has gotten older and we are in a better place financially, we still struggle during this time of year.

There are so many things I wish I could get my daughter for Christmas but I just can’t. I may never be able to go crazy on gifts for her and something I have learned is that it’s okay.

Mama, please don’t let this ruin the holiday season for you.

In our society today, there is so much pressure and importance put on the number of gifts we are able to buy for our kids. We look at person after person on social media with living rooms full of mountains of gifts and we start to feel inadequate and less than as a mom.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact, one beautiful thing has happened over the years as a result of not buying a million gifts. Our focus has been shifted, at first because it had to be, but now it is intentional.

I no longer feel that pain deep down in my heart when Christmas time comes and my daughter doesn’t have 55 gifts under the tree.

Instead, we spend the entire season leading up to Christmas Day making memories.

We drive around and see the lights. We drink hot cocoa and watch Christmas movies. We donate clothes and toys to those in need. We watch the Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting on TV. We bake cookies and hang our stockings and wait for Santa to arrive.

Because mama, Christmas isn’t just about the gifts.

I know, I know, that is easier said then done. Believe me, I know. I have walked in your shoes and had to rely on my family members to provide presents for my daughter. (Talk about humbling!)

You are not alone.

This time of the year, is so much more than the things we can buy.

As I have embraced life as a minimalist, I have realized even more what is important and what isn’t. And mama, the amount of money that you can and can’t spend on gifts is not the important part of the season.

No, the most important thing is spending time with the ones you love. Slowing down and making memories that will last forever, way longer than all the toys money can buy.

In fact, this year, I asked our family members to only get my daughter a few gifts. A few toys that she really wants. She made her own list and only wrote down a few toys and a few books. It makes me so proud to see that Christmas has changed for her too, even though she is only seven.

Mama, do not, I repeat do not, go into debt just to buy presents. Do not wrack up those credit cards and have bills that you can’t pay for the next five months after Christmas.

It is okay to not be able to afford an abundance of gifts.

Related: 3 Tips For Decorating For The Holidays As A Minimalist

Feel the true spirit of the holiday season, let it into your heart and keep it there forever. Know that Christmas is so much more than shopping. Look at those little ones, see the joy and sparkle in their eyes and realize that they don’t care how many gifts they will get. It doesn’t matter to them.

What matters to them is the magic of it all and you mama, you matter to them.

So go make a big cup of hot cocoa, grab a blanket, cuddle on the couch by the twinkling lights of the tree and soak up every second of this holiday season.

From one mama on a budget to another,

Happy Holidays! XOXO