How Did Your Parents Give You a Merry Frugal Christmas?
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  1. #1
    Registered User forHISglory's Avatar
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    Smile How Did Your Parents Give You a Merry Frugal Christmas?

    Hi,
    It's that time of year when worry sets in: what to buy, how to pay for it, is it worth it? Perhaps you can look back at something your parents did when you were younger that served as a great example for being frugal, yet merry, at Christmas. Your stories can inspire the rest of us to perhaps make some needed changes.


    Here's my story: The folks were farmers and it had been a bad year. First there was flooding that carried off the seed and necessitated replanting. Then drought dried up the new seedlings. Disease took some cattle. We kids knew the rough economics of a farm life, and we knew Christmas could be a little sparse this particular year.


    My brother and I had been wanting a bicycle. We drooled over the catalogs and left numerous hints. When Christmas morning arrived, we rushed downstairs, ready to take in the glorious sight of a gleaming new bike. Well, there was a bike, but it wasn't gleaming new. The frame was one that had been my mother's bike when she was a kid. But it had two new tires that Dad had bartered for, and the frame had been sanded and painted. Two wrapped gifts were under the tree. My brother unwrapped one: a bike seat. I unwrapped the other: pedals. Dad was all optimism tellling us how we could learn to put a bike together and how much fun it would be, and Mama was quietly wiping tears away.


    They wanted the best for us, and this was the best they could do to reach our dream. You know how it is as you grow older: you begin to see things differently and to understand what you could not comprehend earlier. My brother and I did indeed have fun with the bike. That heavy old frame just could not be dented by anything! And we did learn how put together and take apart a bike.


    But the real value came later as I understood my parent's love for us, their sacrifice in getting this put together for us. I am so grateful now for their common sense; it's been an inspiration for me and gave me ideals for my own life. It showed me that there are many ways to reach a dream; one only has to be creative. Thanks, Mom and Dad.
    Spiritual:
    "You are fearfully and wonderfully made." Please... respect life.

    Financial:
    Debt free, hoping to stay that way!


    MY BLOG: glorybug.wordpress.com


    1. Keep on writing.
    2. Get some balance in my life.
    3. Lose weight. Hopefully 20# this year.
    4. Continue to be looking for how God wants to use me this year.


  2. #2
    Registered User Moor's Avatar
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    this did not come from my mom, but my granny.

    the year that my dad died, she made a book for each of us kids.

    since i was only 5, mine was a little different than everyone else's.

    they got pics of him with only them in it. stories about him involving them, and some family shots.

    mine was a book with stories of things he did. there were pics of him and me, but there was also pics of just him in there.

    that year, that was all that we got for christmas.

    the following year, we were a little better for money, so my granny got all of us kids together and took us to the grave, then when we got home, there were presents, that my mom had stayed home and wrapped. they were all something that our dad would have done with us.

    like my sister was married, but she was always having car problems. so my mom got her some coupons made by a friend, that would give her discounted car repairs.
    my oldest brother was a football player. he was slotted to try out for the bengals when my dad died. so my mom got in touch with the coach, and got my brother a week as a water boy for them.
    my middle brother plays guitar. so did my dad. so my mom bought him new strings and a new strap for his guitar.
    my younest brother loved to music also, but the tuba and the piano. so my mom got him some lessons from a friend in exchange for her cleaning the woman's house.
    for me, who liked to go hunting with my dad, she gave me a book about hunting and even though she hated it, she took me squirrell hunting that year.

    i will always remember that year. as my mom, even though she had little money, made sure that we remembered our day by giving of herself so that we would have presents that he would have given to us, if he had been there.

  3. #3
    Registered User leezza's Avatar
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    Wow, what inspiring stories....

    Me well I am not as good with words but I would say my folks taught us that no matter what there is always someone in need. We always did:

    Secret Santa
    Church donations
    Neighbors in need

    We learned that you drop the things on the door step, knock, and run like heck.......when you are kid you don't quite understand this.....but later you realize that it is the quiet, secret things you do to leave someone their dignity. And you just hope and pray that you made a hard time a little easier to handle.

    God, I love my parents they are the best.

    leezza

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    Registered User acidcookie's Avatar
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    We never had much money so frugal Christmases were the norm.

    Mom showed me how to take last year's Christmas cards and fold them into little gift boxes. We tied ribbon around them and hung them on the tree as ornaments. We also made paper dove ornaments, and ornaments out of pipe cleaners, aluminum foil, and cotton balls.

    The (fake) tree was purchased one year at Fred Meyer and we re-used it every year, for probably 10 years. It became the normal thing to do on Thanksgiving, to unpack, unfold, and unbend the fake tree.

    We decorated the window with "Weihnachtssterne" out of typewriter paper

    We'd listen to Christmas songs on the radio, on the same stereo my mom's had for probably 18 years now.

    Gifts were often wrapped in paper grocery bags that she had taken the time to decorate. She would make sure that we had many gifts under the tree to unwrap even if it meant just splitting one present into several packages or wrapping small things like packs of gum, etc.

  5. #5
    Registered User changed4life's Avatar
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    What touching stories...
    I'm noticing a very common thing in all these posts. It's what Christmas is all about and what we as a society have lost through the years.

    I see parents, who, although had very little money, stretched themselves and their budgets in any way possible to do the best they could for their children. But, the best they did was give of themselves.

    It saddens me that there are parents out there who are wondering if Christmas gifts will be under the tree for their children.

    A verse in the bible says, "To those who much is given, much is expected." (Meaning, those who have abundance should share).

    Merry Christmas all. May God's words always ring in our ears. And, may we be moved to do as he says.

  6. #6
    Registered User Laurie in Bradenton's Avatar
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    There is a picture in my moms hallway of me and my 2 sisters standing in the livingroom by the tree. We each are dressed in a new flannel nightgown made by mom out of the same fabric.
    We ALWAYS got homemeade clothing for Christmas. Mom would haunt the discount bin at the fabric store all year looking for fabric to make the coming years outfits. She also knit sweaters, hats, mittens (yes in Fla),alsorts of things. One year we all got blue jean purses and my youngest sister got a blue jean stick horse. All made from recycled family jeans. She made pusres out of bleach bottles with a drawstring fabric top filled with pencils and pens from the bank, a new calander from the card shop, mini klennex packages. If it was given away free somewhere she'd collect 3 and each pusre would have a tresure trove. In moms mind it wasn't the cost it was the thought. Barbie clothes in decorated shoeboxes and board games made on old grocery bags cut open. We had the world!
    Custom Clothes and Personalized games. Who could ask for more. Plus Moms love. We still tease that she could squeeze the buffalo on the nickel and make it sh*t dimes. lol
    For friends and neighbors there was always old giant pickle jars from the school cafeteria filled with homemeade cookies. We'd have baking days and jars decorating days.
    I have an old boyfriend who still shows up at Moms for his jar of cookies 30 years later. And she plans on him.

    Laurie in Bradenton

  7. #7
    Registered User Laurie in Bradenton's Avatar
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    Back again! While standing the kitchen making toast I suddenly remembered a Christmas with a group of widowed Great Aunties. One year we went north to Milwaukee to for a visit at Christmas time Dad and Mom saved all year for the trip we drove in an old stationwagon. Christmas eve is our big opening night after a huge family meal. Well these 3 great Aunts lived together and had been friends all their lives, Aunt Florence, Francis and Pearl. There is a picture of them sitting on the floor in front of the tree modeling of all things the new underware they had gotten as gifts. Now this is a 1960's picture so this is no whippy undies. Bras are on heads like World War I fighting aces complete with arm straps under chins!
    These Aunts were ahoot. Strings of beads around their necks, copper braclets up their arms and a glass of gin in their hands at 80 is how I remember them.

    Laurie in Bradenton

  8. #8
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    I was telling dh this morning about my mom's special Christmas Jello. It was our special Christmas dessert during the "single mom" years. She made a package of red Jello and a package of green Jello and put it out in a long pan to set up. Then she cut each color into cubes. She got out her special Christmas Jello clear glass dish (the only time she used it) and put in some of the red cubes, then some of the green, then a dollop of whipped cream. She continued layering it up then put more cream on top. I know it was still just Jello, but it was "Christmas Jello" and that made it special.
    Last edited by LizaZ; 12-05-2007 at 11:48 AM.

  9. #9
    Registered User momto6's Avatar
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    I swear it didn't even occur to me that my parents did this for me for Christmas because of lack of money until I was an adult. One year my mom, who is very crafty, took a refridgerator box and made a fantastic playhouse out of it for me. She painted the outside and inside. She put curtains in the cutout windows and put a scrap piece of linoleum on the floor. She painted my name on the front door. I played with that thing until it fell apart and thought it was the best. It's one of the only presents I remember as a small child. She put a lot of time into that house and probably didn't cost her a dime! That was a great lesson to me about Christmas memories with kids.
    Amy

  10. #10
    Registered User miss_thrifty's Avatar
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    nothing was ever frugal in my home when it came to christmas. It was ridiculous!!! My mother tried to make up for not being there or making time to even talk and sit by buying us out. ughhhh
    I made the differnece when i had my kids in the worst times by second hand clothes, plus teddy bears (bearnstien bears and books) tags still on them . one christmas. My kids loved them. Better then the game cube .

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