Not able to afford Chistmas

Krista - posted on 11/11/2009 ( 93 moms have responded )

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How do I explain to my children that there might not be a christmas if I can't even convince my mother that I can't afford Christmas this year. Its not that I don't want to but the debts are overwhelming and they keep coming. I left my husbanc and he left me with the debt same as my childrens fathers. One minute I'm figuring it all out and the next I'm not. I don't want to hurt them because I know they are looking forward to Christmas. Anyone have any suggestion that avoid me being the worst parent ever.

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Sharon - posted on 11/12/2009

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My husband and I were in very dire straits the previous two Christmas seasons. We let the extended family know up front we were not exchanging gifts. We asked our parents to use the money they were going to spend on my husband and I for Santa for our son. To enjoy the season, we pulled out all of our decorations and decorated the house inside and out. That really helped alot. Also, check with the Salvation Army Christmas Angel program or a local church. They can possibly help you with a Christmas for your kids.

Eleanor - posted on 11/12/2009

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it depends on how old your children are really. If they are at an age where they know that Santa is not real then they should be old enough to be aware that you have debts and are struggling with money, so you can sit them down and explain that you can't afford a chirstmas full of presents but that maybe you could celebrate christmas in a different way this year - either by making presents for each other or giving IOU notes to each other for things like playing games or doing chores for a day. Another idea is to volunteer somewhere on Christmas day and show your children that Christmas can be about giving service to others. If your children are young and still believe in Santa then maybe you could explain that Santa only brings the presents that come in the stockings and so that is all they will get this year as you dont have any money to but them presents. Then you could perhaps look in charity shops and pound shops for a few little things for their stockings. hope this helps and don't worry about being the worst parent ever - as long as your children have your love and support and happy memories they dont need lots of expensive presents

Angie - posted on 11/14/2009

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You should go to your nearest Fire dept or family center they always do something like toys for tots..

Jennifer - posted on 11/13/2009

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There are programs out there that will help you with christmas if you can't afford it.



Call churches, and find out what's out there to help. :)

Dianne - posted on 12/09/2012

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Hello! I addressed this issue with another parent a week ago, 1st & foremost you are not alone. I too have had a very bad year financially, My husband too is gone, so what i am doing this year with my 3 children is started out by telling them ANYTHING they recieve from Black Friday on must be counted as a Christmas gift,I food coupon all year but I'm finding this is becoming helpful for Christmas as well. I got a groupon for $20 worth of merchandise at Toys R Us for $10, Burlington's sent a coupon for $10 & if all you wanted to spend was $10 it was ok. I'm looking at another groupon deal for sports wear for my son for half price but just waiting to come up with $10 to get it before it ends.If I'm not able to get the high end electronic pricey stuff they want i have already told them if their grades & behaviour show good then maybe we can do it at tax time. Unfortunately we train our children that Christmas is about presents, but the bottom line is its really about Jesus, family and love (& that translates into giving) but sometimes it just cannot be as much, these are the realities of life. well wishes to u & your fam

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BRITTIANY - posted on 12/16/2013

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i am a mother of 3 and i recently have lost my home car and job due to losing my car i live in a community with my grandparents whom cannot help much but try to and there is not even a bus line out here... so i am pretty much stuck and i cannot buy my children not a single gift for Christmas and it concerns me and breaks my heart n soul to know that my children are gonna wake up on Christmas with no presents... we do not even have a Christmas tree and i do not even know what to do anymore... it really hurts me and i don't even know how i am going to tell me children why Santa didn't come

Cari - posted on 12/27/2012

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Krista .. first of all are you a single mother.. and how many children do you have. ? ........ I can give you some ideas.. it is not easy....... keep your head up.. and smile at the kids. .. feel bad in your room not in front of them ever..... write back.

Tammie - posted on 12/26/2012

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Krista, never be to proud if your school, surrounding school, or any organization that gives away toy or whatever your children like at their age take it. I feel everyone will once need someone else's help. Children is what Christmas is about. Look up recipes that are make out of cookie cutters so you and the children can make and give each other for Christmas. Your Mother is the least of your worries, I think dealing with our Mom's is hard no matter how well or how bad we do in life; your babies comes first. NO, your not the worst parent your writing worrying about your children shows me you love them.

Barbara - posted on 12/20/2012

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I agree that if your children are old enough and do not believe in Santa you have to sit them down and explain that there is not going to be too many presents this year and hopefully next year will be better I would ask any family members to just get something for the kids and let them know you are not exchanging. Find help with the Salvation Army is a good idea and speak with your church also try the dollar stores. If your children are young they won't know the difference too much I would take them to all the free things that are out there like the decorated houses and lights in the neighborhoods put on Christmas music and Christmas movies and have sing a longs with the children of all ages. You have to show them that family and friends are more important than presents. Make arts and crafts and cookies and pudding and jello in Christmas themes. Good luck to you and your family hope things work out better for you and your family next year.

Amy - posted on 12/18/2012

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I am making gifts this year out of things that I am recycling from my home. I did a Google search for cheap homemade gifts. We are also without a car so we can't travel to visit our other family members like we do every year around the holidays so instead we are having some fun activities and family time at home.

Megan - posted on 12/15/2012

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Make a photo book with the faces of all the people who love your children...then "read" it together every night. Maybe even write a special blessing on one of the pages. Also write a special note about each child's unique gifts..." I love how you make everyone laugh" " Your smile is so beautiful"...
The little ones in my nursery love this http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00005N...

Diane - posted on 12/10/2012

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yahoo has a group called "freecycle" that seems to run in most areas. (if not in yours, im sure you can find one in yours on the net...or even craigslist) freecycle is a board that people use to "upcycle" stuff. you can post a "want" or put stuff up as "offer". everything is free.

Molly - posted on 12/08/2012

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depending on the age there is alotttt of different ways to tell them, see my kids are 5,3,2 and 1 so really most of them expect a present but depending on their age just say that santa's sleigh broke and you will get you present soon from santa intill you make money!

Kelsey - posted on 12/07/2012

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Some years when we could not afford lots of presents mom would go out and get us a brand new movie and we would watch movies together..but Santa always brought us just a little something...new colouring books and crayons stickers just little things from the dollar store. we would get a letter from santa saying ther were kids in the community who really needed new toys this year and because we had been so good and caring he thought we would like to help out by giving them our toys. He promised that next year they would return the favour

Rachel - posted on 12/07/2012

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Presents don't make you a good parent. We never started the tradition of giving presents, because when you do, then they expect them. All your children need to know is that you love them. Do a nice dinner if you can, instead of presents have a Good Deed Christmas and have the children pick names (a la Secret Santa) and have them do good deeds for their siblings. Don't put yourself into more debt by buying things.

Shannon - posted on 12/07/2012

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I'm sorry to hear this Krista - but perhaps you could look at it a different way. Christmas is about more than gifts.... celebrate the meaning behind it. And if you can; perhaps you can "trade gifts" with people you know. Are you a Crafter at all? knit, sew, paint etc? perhaps you have friends that you could "trade" your homemade gifts with their home made gifts? (I make cakes - i could trade a cake for their child's birthday next year for a beautiful knitted comforter for my child this Christmas?) perhaps something like that would work? My mom's parents would wrap up special items of theirs to give to their children... just take a deep breath - know that Christmas is MORE than gifts, your children love you and will understand if this Christmas is more about love and less about Stuff.. these times will pass, and will make for the memories your kids cherish the most. Merry Christmas.

Lori - posted on 07/21/2012

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Yes, stop believing you are the worst Parent Ever! My counselors and minister say... These things happen for a reason and we are to lean from them, Believe me, I am going through the same thing. I spoiled my kids growing up, then I divorced my youngest sons father, he was and still is very permissive, now I have a very ungrateful, NO self esteem or self respecting 13 year old, so I use tough love and cry myself to sleep at night. All the counselors and other parents I know say I am doing the right things and I only have 2 month's in the summer to be with him and Christmas when I take him to his oldest brothers house to make sure they get together. My 13 year old hates me and is constantly bad mouthing me and his time with me in Alaska. He wont go outside, he only plays his computer games and complains about not having enough junk food in the house. Taking away his computer gives him incentive to brush his teeth and shower and do some chores! It all feels so negative and I just want to be happy while he is here. We are learning a lot from each other. Bless Us and You

Proud - posted on 12/19/2011

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Don't give up hope yet. Just a few days before my daughters first birthday I didn't think I was going to be able to afford much. I got $75 cash given to me for something I had totally forgotten about.

Lay your burdens upon God. He gives us the desires of our heart

Gina - posted on 12/08/2011

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Salvation army is a good place to start. If you do not want to rely on handouts, I would make Christmas what it is : the celebration of Jesus, not of toys.

Anne - posted on 12/08/2011

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Last year, we were moving 2 days before Christmas. So we didn't have a real tree. We took a moving box and cut it open, unfolded it. I then cut along the edges to make the big cartboard look like a Christmas tree. We covered the cartboard with green wrapping paper and hung it on the wall. It was life size! The kid then took pieces of paper and cut out some stars. They also made chains of little paper rings we glued together. They had a really good time decorating our cartboard Christmas tree that hung on the wall. They still tell me how it was the best Christmas tree ever!

Cory - posted on 12/05/2011

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First let me start by saying I'm not really a Christmas person. While I like the "idea" & intent of Christmas I think we all get too wrapped up w/ the gift giving aspect & while it's GREAT to buy gifts & see the JOY on everyone's faces it lasts merely a short time. Gifts are not the end all be all.. While I can't tell you what I got as a gift as a child what I DO remember is the annual reading of "The Night Before Christmas" by my grandfather.. OR the midnight mass held by candlelight... OR going to see SANTA & the Christmas lights in Downtown Cleveland. I remember having family & friends over the house for potlucks. It's simply NOT about gifts but, family traditions. We have a tradition in our family of making Christmas cookies & candy. We go see the lights & spend time w/ those we care about and LOVE.. So, instead of trying to buy Christmas make some memories w/ your children !

Dorothea - posted on 12/05/2011

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Keep your head up. I came from a VERY poor family. I don't remember a Christmas where I never got a gift, but I remember a few where I got only one. It wasn't the end of the world. I'm 33 now, and look back on my childhood, and I don't remember the bulk of the Christmas gifts I got, but I can tell you where everyone sat when we where all together. Christmas isn't about presents, it's about love, and family.

Now on to the bigger problem... "the debts are overwhelming and they keep coming". This is a HUGE problem for the bulk of the country and world. Debt is killing us by stealing our freedom, and our joy. (You and I, and most everyone else.) Please, please, please go to your bank, and ask for financial planning help. Most banks offer help for free or low cost. Contact your debtors and be honest with them. Don't let things slide. You don't want to hurt your credit score. (It affects more that you think.)

Keep your head up. Call on family and friends to help you when you need it. (As a single parent you will need it! Do't be ashamed to ask for it.)

Merry Christmas!

Tawni - posted on 11/19/2009

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Make it a year where everybody makes eachothers presents instead of buys them.. They could be disappointed at first but it actually ends up being fun

Amanda - posted on 11/19/2009

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Do you have Toys for Tots in your area? I think that they go up to age 12. Look around the community. I know the SAlvation Army will help or pantries around the area.

Angela - posted on 11/19/2009

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There are programs like the angel tree by the salvation army that can help in situations like this......reinforce what christmas is really is and just enjoy your fam....it will all work out

[deleted account]

We have told our kids we are spending our Christmas money to go visit distant relatives next year so we won't have new gifts for Christmas. What we plan to do is find toys that they have not played with in awhile and wrap them. The fun will be guessing what toy is in which box and rediscovering what they loved about that toy in the first place. I also agree with the posts about putting Christ back into Christmas. That is always our first priority in our home, so I think that helps with the perspective, too. The thing my girls are looking forward to the most, though, is putting up the tree and the tradition we have built in doing that.

Best wishes and God bless you!

Lisa - posted on 11/18/2009

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I know what you are going though this year we are having to do the same thing but in reverse my olest son is working and he's playing father christmas this time. Please check out the Sal. Army and some of the local church can help even with a christmas dinner, so please will you look into these places. I have to but I want a christmas even if they only get one present that one present closer then I couldn;t give them. Its a hard life out there and evereyone needs to stick together its the only way we are going to make it. good luck and Merry Christmas

Tania - posted on 11/18/2009

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Maybe this would be a good time to let them know there is more to Christmas than presents. We repeatedly tell our oldest what the real meaning of Christmas is. Eleanor had some really good ideas. I hate to say it but we are in the same situation this year.

Melissa - posted on 11/18/2009

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If you have smaller children you can sign up through the salvation army or churches and they will help with christmas. I had to do this myself also and it is a wonderful program in our community.

Jennifer - posted on 11/18/2009

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do a birthday party for Jesus (cake decorations etc) then also remember that when he was born he was given three gifts- gold, frankensense, myrh so keep with that theme and buy them or make them three small gifts-- keep it simple and treasure the memories

Katie - posted on 11/18/2009

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You aren't the worst mom ever so that's the first thing you need to stop thinking! Your concern alone shows you care and want to do the best for your kids! There is so much hype about Christmas and it's sad. Because of that hype you now feel the way you do as though you have to spend a ton of money in order for it to mean anything. Remember what Christmas is about and go from there. Don't go big and fancy ... go within your means to share special memories with your kids .. regardless of age. Read books to help teach your kids about what Christmas is really about, go for a walk with hot chocolate and look at Christmas lights, sit around the house and sing or listen to Christmas music, do fun arts and crafts (it doesn't have to be expensive). Or even focus on doing for someone else who is less fortunate then you guys are (sadly there are many who are) and help really bring the meaning of Christmas to your kids and their hearts. I don't know if that helps ... but I feel if we all (including myself, which I plan on doing) did this we'd find a much more memorable Christmas experience that will last forever. Good luck ... I've been single before raising my girls ... I know that can be hard but you'll do better then you think..hang in there!

Jessie - posted on 11/18/2009

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I feel you on this, my husband is a marine shortly back from a deployment and is having a hard time finding work, I do have to agree w/ Felicia society has gotten why to commercial my mother and I do goodie baskets for friends and family, but for the kids try Toys for Tot's with the Marine Reserves, and try to focus this year on being with family and enjoying and being thankful that you have each other maybe start a few new traditions, read very night up to christmas (i prefer Charles Dickens ) or come up with a family activity to do like one day going sledding, another snowball fights and snowmen, cookie making another day etc... you are by no means a bad parent make this year one of love and more a focus on family keep in mind that before all this commercialism children were ecstatic to find an orange in their stocking

god bless and remember the true reason for the season

Felicia - posted on 11/18/2009

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Well first thing we get so caught up in the camerialism of the world Christmas is Christ's birthday not yours or your kids. If u teach your children that then u don't have to go more into debt with Christmas. As long as your children r healthy u have a home and food be thankful for what God had given u it could be worse. God is speaking to his people we have lost focus on the true reason for the season. I have two children one who is grown with her own three children but when she was at home we practiced not going into debt with buying gifts and now my 11yr she know as well so she doesnt look for abundance of gifts start teaching your children what matters most that is the best gift u can giv your children which will last a life time and yes it might be hard at first but u b ok with it and stand on it after awhile your children will get use to it also. Your children learn from u so if the have a fit its your fault (sorry to say all parents) but its true. I pray that God will bless u in your situation and that he will open up opportunities in your life as u start trusting and believing whats not there. Have true in the soul & heart FAITH! God has given u your children on loan not to keep and he has in-trusted u to raise your children up in adoration of Him. Watch the blessings start over flowing u. But it depends on how much faith and trust u have in him and how long can u endure without complaining but thanking him for good and the bad. He will never put more on u than u can bare only He knows that sis. So lift up your head and let the King of Glory come into your life who is the King of Glory he's mighty and strong he will stand in battle for u for the battle is already won u have to believe that. This is the Spirit of God using a total stranger to speak to your heart seek God for your direction and answers God loves u so very much because he made u and your children and he is concerned about all that u go through and he is catching every tear u shed and one day they will be cashd in for better and gr8r things. Bless U sister!

Mimi - posted on 11/18/2009

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Dont put yourself down. I have been there. Just do your best and explain to them. Even if its not what they wanted and not expensive they will appreciate it. I have bought my kids 2 items one year and they were happy with that and it did not come no where fancy like walmart. It is the thought that counts. Believe they understand more than u know. Stay strong and do not give up. There should be some programs out there to help out as well. Salvation army, American Red Cross, and maybe even more. Believe me they have helped me out. It is no cost to u. Good Luck.

Wanda - posted on 11/18/2009

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I love Eleanor's ideas. Your kids will remember this Christmas most by the love they share with you. You have gotten lots of good suggestions for places to go and find help with the material things. But don't let their memories be "That was the Christmas Mommy was sad." Pray. Trust. With all these ideas, you may start some traditions that you'll want to keep in years to come, even when finances level out a bit!

Tammy - posted on 11/18/2009

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It is not called being a bad parent. We too are going through that same thing. Our kids will not get "as much" as they normally do but they will get some things. We dont worry about getting for each other. Also, I did a layaway at Kmart. Dont let it get you down. Kids are more understanding than we think. I will be praying for you.

[deleted account]

Krista, I'm sorry if the original post seemed harsh.
I do, naturally feel for you and the stress and disappointment the situation is causing you. But whether or not your mother accepts your situation and fears is not as relevant as how you interrelate with your children.
They are your prime concern right now. Christmas can still be Christmas, just different. I saw there were some good suggestions for external help - but I'm sure you can pull it off by yourself too if you feel uneasy about getting outsiders to help you.
Keep your chin up. :)

[deleted account]

Convincing your mother is irrelevant - your core family is you and your children.

Does it need to be a big event? Santa can't fit that much into his sleigh anyway ...

Cheryl - posted on 11/17/2009

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First... I think so many of these replies are wonderful....and KNOW Christmas is not about the gifts,or how many or how much it's about family , love and helping others.I Don't know your religious beliefs so I don't want to offend you but Christmas is not about us, but about the Greatest Gift to mankind. But as a mother I DO understand your feelings!!!! Make this the most special Christmas season by baking together, creating some fun traditions, creating homemade cards for freinds n family.
But in the meantime be openminded about finding out more info on maybe doing something you really wouldnot think of doing.....work from home!
www.workathomeunited.com/cherylb You could earn up to $500 or more the week before Christmas! My company that I work from Home with is so easy to work for and helps you reach your goals!!!

Tracy - posted on 11/17/2009

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Krista,
You can check with your local churches or try to see about the Angel Tree program. Also you might want to check with your childrens school. I know that my boys' school has helped our family the last two years. I know how you feel. You also might want to check your area there are some other local programs that might be able to help.

Tracy

Dorothy - posted on 11/17/2009

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Krista, it is OK. I understand where you are coming from. This year is very rough on me and my family. My husband worked for Chrysler for 14 years and has been out of work for a full year now. This Christmas is going to be very hard. I know that I will not be able to buy Christmas gifts this year so I plan to keep our tradition of making cookies with all of my children and my nieces and girlfriends children and my daughters friends. The only difference this year is we will not be making cookies for Santa because he will not stop by this year because my children will be giving to children who are worse off than they are. I want them to appreciate what they have because it could be worse and I want to teach them that giving is so much better than receiving. I have been working on this "attitude of gratitude" for a while so I don't think this will be much of a traumatic shift for them. My girls are 9, 7 and 5 years old. I don't want them to think of this as the worse Christmas because they didn't get gifts but the best Christmas because they gave the most valuable thing they have. Their time. I wish you the best and am praying for you and your family. I don't know how old your children are but any age is a good age to get them into giving to other. A great confidence and character builder. Sending much love your way. Dorothy and family

Pauline - posted on 11/17/2009

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I grew up in a very large family. I remember one year that our dad had told us that he didn't think we would be able to get gifts that year. Frankly it did not really matter. In our family of ten children we would usually get one gift each. We knew we were loved and enjoyed just being together. We also knew that Dad did his best to provide and those are the things that are what's important. (bills need to be paid, and food on the table) I think that because of this that I have a true appretiation for all I have and I hope to pass those values to my daughter. Try to find the positive in the situation. Your children will follow your lead. You might even try to make or buy little $1 items.

Amy - posted on 11/17/2009

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check with your local chamber of commerce, they should be able to tell you where you can get help...Also, check with the salvation army..This is the second year that I had to get help for my kids too.

Becky - posted on 11/17/2009

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We are in the same situation this yr. Last yr we were homeless living in a hotel with 4 kids. Hubby lost his job and we couldnt afford the hotel anymore. We were forced to stay with some people we would rather not have our children around. We went for a walk one day and found a 1 bedroom apartment we could afford on unemployment and took it. That tax season we took our tax money and moved into a 3 bedroom and lived on unemployment until may this yr when hubby finally found a job. We are stuill struggling month to month just make the bills and keep the water and electric on. I have applied thru the YMCA for their Chrstmas program. I havent heard anything back yet but I amhoping they accept us. I also applied at a local mission here thru Metroplitan Ministries and they are providing us with Thanksgiving dinner 2 gifts per child and Christmas Dinner. Then there is Toys for tots thru the salvation army. They let us get 3 gifts for each child last year. We applied thru the kids elementary school. There is also another program here called clothes to kids and they let you go in every 6 months and get 5 outfits including underwear and sock and shoes for each school aged child you have. We waited to go our second time this yr so I can use the clothes as Christmas gifts for my kids. The socks and underwear are brand new and the clothes are gently used. and most are nice name brands in the current styles. Which is important to the middle schoolers. and high schoolers. I also (last yr) posted an ad on Craigslist for help. I didnt ask for much just basics like shoes, clothes and things the kids really needed. 2 people came thru including a church and the kids had a decent christmas last yr. They got 6 gifts each and my mom got them 3 each so it worked out. I am hoping we have the same luck this yr. I think we will be ok since you can only get help from one organization . They take your social security numbers for the whole family to make sure theres no double dipping to more than one place for help. They do this to make sure everyone who needs a little help can get it and it dont all go to the same families. I am also volunteering to help out some of these organizations and some of them let you get a toy or two for your own kids when you volunteer your time to the charity. Just a few ideas on what we are doing this yr and what we had to do last yr. Hope this helps, this yr is hard on alot of people.

Debbie - posted on 11/17/2009

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Just tell them that you can do what you can this year. I have to do the same too becasue I am not working and I can not get them much or anything and I know it is hard. I hope for the best for you. Just explain as much as you can to them.

Kristin - posted on 11/17/2009

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Oh and you are not a bad mom you are just trying to please everyone and that is a big feat for anyone. Paying bills in no way shape or form makes you a bad mom. It actually makes you a GOOD mom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kristin - posted on 11/17/2009

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Krista my suggestion is to try to call local churches in your community. Alot of them are equipt with funds for just this cause. When my oldest daughter was 7 I had NO money at all and a preacher meet me at wal-mart and had me pick out things for her for x-mas and the church paid for it. I will nwvwer forget their kindness.

Sarah - posted on 11/17/2009

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You could try to find gift for your children off of freecycle, you can post for things that your kids like and most of the time you just need to pick them up yourself.

Miranda - posted on 11/17/2009

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i would like to suggest toys for tots,(dont know if they have it where u r) they r a wonderful solution for still having a nice christmas i've used it before they have a website that tells u about it. i do believe it is toysfortots.com from babies up till they r i think 16 or so or even try angeltree.com.

Clair - posted on 11/17/2009

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I'm in the same boat , my fiance and i have just spilt after 8 yrs . I'm not sure about where you live but in my community we have an organigation that provides presents for families that have low incomes that can't afford it. You have to provide proof of income and childrens ages then you go and pick out some gifts yourself for your children. It's not much but at least the kids won't go without. My oldest is 14 and i explained to her that things were going to be tight this year so if she could tell me something that she really wanted and i would do my best to get it for her.I know it's heartwrenching when you want to give to your kids when you can't. Hang in there and next year do what i'm gonna do start early buy something small every month.

Crystal - posted on 11/17/2009

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I know exactly how you feel. This will be the second time I have not been able to buy Christmas gifts, however, I have instilled in my children the true meaning of Christmas which is celebrating the birth of Jesus. With that I help the kids to understand that you dont need new toys or games, instead we take the toys and games they no longer use and we give to others, so they know how wonderful it feels to give instead of receive...

Mary - posted on 11/17/2009

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you may want to try your local "Freecycle" group too. the items there are usually not new, but are often in good condition. I am part of the Yahoo groups Freecycle, and i have given and recieved some pretty great stuff (George Forman grills, books, new purses and backpacks, etc.) I have seen new items at the Goodwill too, overstock from the local Target mostly, but still pretty neat items.
best wishes and I say don't be afraid to ask for help, we all need it once in awhile.

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