Sunday, December 13, 2009

Giving Love

Its December 25th, 2001 and Mike and I are broke. I'm talking all out, ramen noodle eating, broke. We weren't married yet and together we lived in a crappy townhouse on a very busy road, surrounded by some less than trustworthy neighbors.

That house was the first place that we lived together, the first place that we made into a nesting place of both of our likes, dislikes, interests, and hobbies. That house held our very first (fake - thank you husband who is allergic to pine) Christmas tree, our very first stockings, our very first holiday memories.

At the time I was working a crappy waitress job where I made next to nothing and Mike had just picked up an equally crappy seasonal job at the mall selling calenders after being laid off from the factory he was working at closed down. Together we accumulated stacks and stacks of bills, phone calls from debtors who wanted money, and a barely above negative balance in our bank account.

Times were hard, but we barely noticed.
We were together and therefore we were happy.

We didn't have much in the way of decorations, outside of a few donated boxes of garland and lights and a tree courtesy of my mother in law. But we made due. Together Mike and I would curl up on the couch and pop a movie in and make decorations for our tree out of things that we had around the house, old floral garlands that I had picked up over the summer from a yard sale, paper, ribbon, felt, and so forth.

We didn't have any presents for one another and the stockings that we had hung with care were empty. The extra money to burn on cliched tokens of affection for one another simply didn't exist that year so rather than divide our last few dollars up between up to buy each other presents we challenged each other to see what we could come up with using things around the house.

A few days before Christmas I got out all of my trusty scrapbook supplies and make Mike a book that listed 200 reasons why I loved him along with a few stories that I had written out documenting some of memories of ours, along with some pictures and quotes and other memorabilia like cards, movie ticket stubs and so forth.

All the while I was working on that Mike was in the basement working away on something that involved power tools, that much I knew from the sounds coming up the stairs. On Christmas he surprised me with the most beautiful spice rack that he had made out of some spare pieces of wood and an old medicine cabinet missing its door. He added shelves and a roof, and even a little hay loft and a coat of red paint. My husband is good with tools when it comes to cars, but he is no carpenter so my sweet little spice rack was crooked, the paint was streaking, and parts of it needed to be held together with extra nails and glue. It was absolutely perfect and is the best gift that I've ever received still to this day.

On Christmas morning our stockings were empty and there was only each others present under our tree, but we were so thankful and so happy.

That night we dined on left over turkey and ham made into sandwiches from his mothers Christmas Eve dinner the night before and for desert we had burnt sugar cookies thanks to our oven whose temperature was off by 25 degrees.

But we were together.

And this Christmas, with two children and times once again hard, but not that hard, we're once again taking the time to celebrate the most important gift that we can give to each other, our love.


  1. Love... that's really all you need, isn't it? Christmas is so commercial, but gifts aren't what its all about in my opinion - only a little bonus when you have some to give!

  2. It's the gifts that come from the heart that I've always cherished most. The fact that he went through all of that to make you something special is so sweet!

  3. this made me cry. its exactly the same situation that my husband and i are in right now and its soo tough. we have eachother and thats enough, but everyone loves opening presents on christmas. i loved your idea on giving him a book with the reasons why you love him, and i think i may do that for my husband. thank you so much for this post!


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