It was keeping me awake and I was worrying. Work was non-existent, spare cash had become an alien concept and I was feeling pretty down. I remember asking the universe for a break, perhaps a miraculous windfall, a sudden peak in my writing projects, a steady run on a construction project, a regular sailor with needs and pockets full of cash who likes bearded men. None of those things happened though, but still we got lucky.
See, the usual set up is that the kids do a not-so-Secret Santa and buy one gift for one of the kids. Seven gifts cover them and then they get one bigger present from mum and dad. Those we're the gifts that looked pretty impossible this year. But each person got something cooler than they could have expected.
Looking around for deals, for any chance to land a present at minimal cost brought me to an uncomfortable place. I want to spend money on them. I want to have to the resources that I hoped I'd have. And yet, given the circumstances we don't, so when my Dad offered us a free E-Reader that he got from collecting newspaper tokens I said yes. I took that and stuck that under the bed. When my sister said she was getting rid of a t.v that she didn't need I said yes, took the dvd player that came with it, and stashed it. When my sister in law offered us a cheap third hand, but in great condition, netbook we said yes. My brother is going travelling. He was getting rid of his entire dvd collection and said I could have what I wanted. I took loads of them and yep, they went under the bed.
On Christmas morning we were able to give the young kids something we had bought or been given for free and cleaned it up. We gave the older kids something we didn't pay anything for, and they were really happy. It was a really good year.
I was stuck when it came to my wife, but I waited, took my phone in and slashed my bill in half when I upgraded... and I got a tablet for free with the new handset. The Tablet went to her. So we had a cheap Christmas. And it was really good. Saying that I don't want next year to be like this. I don't want money for money's sake, but I do want to be out of this trap. Because it can be really depressing to have nothing and know that without other peoples generosity we'd be properly screwed. So yes, you can do it on the cheap. Yes, you can make ends meet and still have a great time, and yes, you should always be grateful to the people around you that are willing to help.But it's not a lot of fun.
Thanks to everyone that made our Christmas possible. It was a great Christmas, but next years will be better.