Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Mommy's Christmas "Store"

Mommy's Christmas "Store" was a popular thing in our home for many years. Recently my adult girls reminded me of the "store" and talked fondly of their memories of it. One of them said, "Mom, you need to write a blog post about it!"

The items varied from year to year... and the prices were low so that each child could buy gifts for their siblings and parents. No, they were not allowed to buy things for themselves at the "store". 

Little toys, crayons, pencils, little notebooks, simple jewelry and more were put into the store. 

We banned "wish books" from our home - those Sears or Penney's catalogues that had such enticing pictures of wonderful treasures in them. Those books of temptation to reject what God had already blessed us with in favor of something "new". After hearing the kids say things like "WOW! That bike is lots better than mine." "I want that doll."and other comments, we also did away with the ads from stores like Walmart and others for several years.  I hate the materialism in our culture and especially at Christmas and wanted our kids to enjoy giving and to appreciate what they had, not lust for more. 

We tried to keep things rather simple and the store helped us do that. This was especially helpful as we traveled so much for surgeries and it would have been very difficult to take 6 kids shopping at regular stores where they couldn't afford things anyway. Neither could we in many years. 

Just pieces of paper with prices. Very simple.

The kids LOVED this! I asked some of the guys if they remembered the Christmas Store and they did and loved it. One son asked if we would be having the Christmas Store this year... and he grinned since all of our "kids" are now adults. I laughed and said no.

 I would set things out in our master bedroom on the bed with the door shut, arranging things so they could shop. The anticipation of what would be in the store each year was high as was the excitement of being able to choose something for everyone. The line would form outside the door and one child at a time was allowed to shop. 

They would debate over what to get for each person and how much to spend of their money so they could get the best gifts for each person. There was much excitement over all of this. After they had chosen all of their gifts, the gifts were put into a bag and they then hurried past the other kids still waiting outside the door and took the gifts to a place where they could wrap each one.

One daughter said it was hard to wait outside that door for her turn. The excitement was high. I always made sure there was enough for each child to choose from. The Christmas Store was open for a little while on one day sometime before Christmas and then not again until the next year so it was a much anticipated time. 

1 cent items seems silly, but when little, they had very little money. I would give jobs for them to earn money and they loved shopping and lingering over various items to be sure to get just the right thing for those they were shopping for.

These are not actual items we used for our stores as I didn't take any pictures of them. These are items that "could have" been in our store and are set up to give you an idea of what our store was like.  One son reminded me that they rarely got candy and that wasn't usually in the store. I did put Smarties in the 1 cent section a couple of different years as they weren't as sweet, there were several in a roll and the kids loved them.

I shopped throughout the year for small items the kids would like. Some items were used for the various trips we took for medical reasons for one son.  Tips For Traveling With Children

Other items were saved for the Christmas Store. Most items were purchased at garage sales where I find many amazing deals and I pray about finding what we need.  My Garage Sale Prayer List

I tried to have a bit of a variety. Sometimes I saved out certain items so that one child could be given something they had not seen in the store. 

50 cents was about the limit for the store. By the way, I didn't make any money on the store and usually I lost money, but it was a precious part of teaching our kids to love to give.

Wonderful family memories do not have to cost a lot and I have been surprised at how something simple like this that was done more as a quick fix out of necessity has become so special and precious to our family. 

I hope you are able to build sweet memories this year whether for Christmas or not. Our kids are like sponges and they absorb so much more than we realize most of the time. I love being aware of that and trying to deliberately help them learn while also having fun.

Thank you for visiting. I hope you have a precious Christmas season of remembering Jesus and His wonderful sacrifice for us.

If you are interested, this is on my friend Cheryl's blog over at Homespun Devotions.