Christmastime is a wonderful time of year for many but the reality is that for others its not. There are many factors that contribute to this time of year being one filled with stress, sadness, disappointment and so much more. But the factor we want to address here are those struggling financially, let alone to spend extra money they don’t have for Christmas.
Christmas is a time for giving, spending time with family and for learning about what matters most. These are hard lessons for adults to learn in our nation and in our day and age. But it is especially hard for children. Even more so when kids around them are the ones receiving gifts of all kinds.
It can be hard for children that do not come from wealthy families, or families that are not in a financial situation to be able to “gift them galore.” This time of year is especially taxing on finances. So families that are already struggling to make ends meet throughout the year are lost this time of year.
Although we have provided multiple challenges and ideas to help you save for Christmas slowly and throughout the year, we understand that for many times are still tough and many just may not have the resources to be prepared – no matter how much they want to.
We’ve been in that boat ourselves. We’ve been at a place where we wanted to bless our children but did not have the resources to do so. But even through that, we’ve tried to make the merriest of Christmases with our children never knowing that times were tough in terms of providing Christmas.
If you’ve read our story, you will know that many years ago, we started our journey to become debt-free of over $100k of consumer debts. When we started, we had nothing, we couldn’t even go a day without a paycheck as this would have put us under. In fact, realistically, we were probably only a week or two from bankruptcy before we decided to get ourselves out of this mess.
You might also recall that this turn around began when we became pregnant with our first child. Reality hit us and this child caused us to mature and grow in the area of finances – to wise us up, if you will. She really was the baby that saved us financially. And she is now nearly 12!
Well, when those first few Christmases hit with children, we didn’t know what to do. We did not have the money available to provide the All-American Christmas. And of course, we didn’t have anything saved because we just didn’t do that back then.
Our girls wanted a play kitchen. It was out of the question as far as our budget was concerned, even the cheapest was too much for us. I was sad and torn as to what to do. One day, we were driving around and saw a garage sale with a play kitchen. We got out and it was actually in really good shape, just needing a bit of washing up for only $10!
We bought it and gave it to them Christmas morning. They were so excited! To this day, they have no idea that this play kitchen was bought used for $10. And then about 8 years later, we sold this same kitchen in our own garage sale for $5!
We continued to purchase all, then many, then some gifts second-hand depending on what our budget would allow. We went through several Christmases with us trying to pay off debts, that this really became a huge blessing and a huge joy and our kids were so thankful and so grateful for the abundance of “new to them” toys!
Our children received some very nice second-hand gifts over the years. I still to this day keep my eye out for some great toys and other items that would make for great gifts for our children throughout the year. One year, we even purchased these mini dolls that were dressed like the characters in books (I can’t remember the series now), but they were new in the box and I bought them for $4 at a garage sale. We had Josephine from Little Women and Fern from Charlottes Web, etc. They were amazing. When I looked them up later, they were collectors items and selling for $90!
Today, we have a Christmas Savings plan that starts in January and we are well prepared for the Christmas season. And although we don’t rely on second-hand toys anymore, if we see some, we are not opposed to getting them and gifting them to our children. Honestly, there is nothing that says you have to give new, from the store, toys to children. And our children, they wanted to give gifts to each other and so our kids actually purchased second-hand toys for each other. They are so excited to see the looks on their siblings faces when they open up these treasures that they bought themselves!
And we are thankful that we had this option when we needed it and thankful to have it today to save us a little more.
Would you give second-hand toys to your kids?