For2005, my husband and I were making about $23k a year combined, trying to care for our 8 year old and pregnant with our next. We lived in a tiny apartment and had no room for a tree even if we could have afforded one. I apologized to Halie and told her Santa would still find us even without a tree. We were at a dollar store one day and she spotted this tree "poster", the kind with hinges, that was about 5" tall. She got super excited and said "Look Mommy, you don't have to be sad! We can fit this tree anywhere!"
So I bought it and there was a perfectly empty patch of wall next to the couch that it fit on. Add a side table and we had a place to put gifts "under the tree". She really showed me that year that it you don't have to have a fancy tree with lights and garland to have a Christmas. All you have to have is love. She wasn't worried about the tree. She was worried about me being happy.
I've tried since then to make sure we keep that love alive always, especially at the holidays. We give to toys & coats for tots and the holiday food drives. As soon as Kaelyn (the belly baby from 2005) is a little older I'm going to try to take them to volunteer more. They remind me that the holidays are about sharing love and making others happy, and I don't intend to let them forget!
We're also blissful proof of the adage "We may not have it all together, but together we have it all!" Things have started looking up since then, but I'll never forget that year.
[ Thank you Anne for sharing this with us. It's truly heart touching and reminds us what Christmas is all about. ]
Merry Christmas Everyone!