Friday, January 3, 2014

The bankrupt holidays

Well another holiday coming to an end and I have to say...Good!  Please do not misunderstand, I love Christmas and the real meaning behind Christmas.  I celebrate the birth of Jesus and love the meaning behind this holiday.  However, in this world we are surrounded by the other meaning...PRESENTS!  The commercials on TV, in the mail, on billboards, in the newspapers are everywhere.  There are commercials on TV about giving a car all wrapped up in a red ribbon!  The commercialism for the Christmas holiday is unbelievable!

That said, it is also a reminder about what little you have.  You also see endless stories about giving to the less fortunate and making people who have fell on hard times have a "good Christmas".  Believe me, I am all for that.  In fact, in my pre-bankruptcy days I was one who always gave to the less fortunate and people who needed help.  But you see, if you have been bankrupt, chances are you do not have too much but you are not considered "less fortunate".  How many years do I have to tell me kids that I do not have ANY money for Christmas presents?  How is this going to affect them later on in life?  How many times do I explain to them that it is not about the presents?  It truly would not be such a big deal if the rest of the world did not make it such a big deal...or would it!

When family and friends tell me that they did not have very much money to spend on Christmas this year I find myself feeling compassion for them because I know how they feel.  Then I see what their kids get and can not believe it!  Then I realize that what "not very much money" means to most people means something completely different to me! 

Over the years, I have had "secret santas" that left money for us and I never found out who it was.  It is so overwhelming to receive gifts like that when you do not know who gave it to you! It warms my heart and the financial help is such a relief.  I know that there are so many people who need it more than I.  I know that our financial hardship is nothing compared to so many others and I appreciate those people who recognize quietly that we need help!  I only hope that some day again I will be able to give to those in need again.

We do not use credit cards any more.  We stopped using them about 10 years ago.  I know that if we tried we could probably get one but have decided not.  When you only have enough money to pay for your daily needs, how would we ever be able to pay a bill from a credit card.  Those days are over!  Our bankruptcy did not happen because we bought a lot of stuff for ourselves or our kids.  It happened because we used personal credit cards to pay for things for our restaurant business.  We believed we were in a different financial situation than we actually were and that we really could pay those bills.  Now we only buy what we have actual money for so most of the time that is nothing outside of our real needs.

The insensitivity that surrounds the holiday season for those that can not afford anything outside their daily needs is amazing.  I truly wish that we could go through the holidays just celebrating what the real meaning is instead of going through a month and a half feeling totally inadequate.