The price of Christmas


My first Christmas as Mom, I struggled to keep my eyes open and rocked a newborn who was stuffed like a Butterball turkey in cutesy reindeer pajamas.

I stared at the hypnotizing lights of the Christmas tree and hardly breathed for fear he’d wake. I prayed a prayer of thanks for this gift, one for wisdom that I may have some clue how to keep him alive, and a request that I may be granted just a bit more rest. That one has yet to be granted, which is why a long winter’s nap remains at the top of my list.

I’m from a small family and married into a large one. It’s a blessing to have aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, in-laws and the occasional outlaw (my side). One thing I’ve learned about big families is that they keep getting bigger. Every year, young lovebirds arrive together searching for mistletoe, exhausted mothers cling to brand new babies, and gifts pile higher and higher under the tree.

Speaking of presents, projected financial reports for Christmas 2019 are out. The average American family will be spending $668 this year, up from $633 in 2018 (per the LendEDU website). Whether it speaks to a booming economy or an increase in SCD (Sugar Cookie Delirium), I’m not sure. Either way, statistics and sprinkles make my head spin.

It’s not new information that “you can’t buy happiness.” From the Holy Bible to Dickens’ 1843 classic, A Christmas Carol, and every Hallmark movie ever made, we know that the value of our lives and the measure of our joy does not come from the material things we have. So why do we keep ordering Snuggies and Chia Pets from Amazon when we need to be sending our love?

Maybe old habits are hard to break. Maybe the twinkle and tinsel are too alluring. Maybe it’s just easier. But here’s something else worth remembering: it’s the most wonderful time of year. Let’s make sure it is. Not with stuff, but with grace, peace, and love.

Merry Christmas!

Neena is a Kentucky wife, mother, daughter, and beekeeper who does life in Owensboro. Her first novel, The Bird and the Bees, is a Christian contemporary romance set to be released in April 2020. Visit her at


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