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Thanksgiving, Holidays and Money

Whether you've got enough money or you're working to make every dollar last through this tail end of a crazy 2020, try hard to keep a smile on your face or put a smile on the face of other people who need it!

And you know it's that time of year again! The one where you work really hard to clean up the house, cook a ton of food and have friends and family over for a wonderful time. You may even play some board games as my son and I did with a game of GO which I lost miserably, and a few rounds of chess which I gladly won! After the cleanup, it seems like everyone shifts into mode for the next seasonal holiday as if on cue. My daughters began asking me about black Friday shopping, as I quietly tried to hide in another room to distance myself from the shopping season and all that it brings.

I'm a gift giver by nature and unfortunately, that can make me go a bit overboard. I think I get it from my mother. My mother grew up in a home with meager means. She was raised by a single mom who worked very hard to provide a place for the family to live and food to eat. My grandmother was a single mom doing her best to raise 5 kids.

One of those kids joined the military and would send money home for the family to help provide for his brothers and sisters. That was my uncle Buddy. I really liked that guy. Although he had his problems, he had a wonderfully big heart, and I have many fond memories of him! One of which happened when I was around 6 years old when his pet squirrel bit a chunk out of my finger. I never should have put my hand in that cage!

As my mom began raising her own family, she soon began spoiling my sister and I especially at Christmas. On a very limited income, our Christmas celebrations and gifts were extravagant. As a kid, I didn't understand just how overboard mom and dad went with our Christmas gifts. Now with a family of my own and six children, I fully understand how blessed I was to have parents that stretched themselves so for my sister and I. They gave us something they never had, a magical Christmas season filled with gifts and an abundance of love.

Although I've had many wonderful gifts over my 50 years of being alive, I honestly couldn't tell you what many of them were. Oh I do remember the Jaws game I opened at my grandma's family Christmas party that my cousins and I played, and I remember the used go-cart my dad re-furbished, but beyond that the other gifts are mostly a blur.

However, I do remember many things about the holidays. I remember the Thanksgiving meals with friends and relatives. I recall the wonderful gatherings at my grandmother's house on Christmas Eve with many old people whom I had no idea who they were or how I was related to them.

Now married and with my own crew of kids running around, I remember the time Santa came to our new house. I let him in through the garage to surprise our guests and children. I also remember my young daughter digging through Santa's bag after all the gifts had been given out. I asked her, "Stefanie, what are you doing?" And I remember the dirty look my wife gave me after Stef replied, "I'm looking for mine. Santa didn't didn't give me one!" Luckily, I was able to quickly duck and cover as I left the room returning shortly with "Santa, I found one in the chimney! It must've fallen out of your bag!" Our Santa, a few years past retirement age, gave me a puzzled look for a moment before realizing the situation.

I hope you have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season, but I'd be glossing over 2020 if I didn't remind us all, that this year has been very difficult for many people as COVID and other mischief has affected our businesses, money, lives, and communities. Please keep everyone in your thoughts and prayers.

The holiday season isn't all about money. No matter what your financial situation is this season, just remember that the memories you give and receive will be what remain with you and others forever.

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