Here comes the second punch of my holiday slump.
When Kyle worked for the district for the city we live in, any stipend pay he received was partially paid out in early December. He made a decent amount in stipends, so that money was there to guarantee that no matter how rough things were paycheck to paycheck, we would be able to have a decent Christmukkah for the kids.
And do things like pay our quarterly water bill and renew the tags on both cars without resorting to tomato soup and grilled cheese for dinner for two weeks straight.
But in the new district, the stipends aren't paid out until the beginning of February.
We've been trying to make sure to set aside things since the summer -- everything from using credits on Zulily to hand-me-down gifts from friends -- to make up for the shift in finances.
But we didn't really think through everything else that comes with the holidays -- gifts for family members, the cost of sending out holiday cards, social engagements.
Gifts for one another.
And I know the season isn't about the stuff you get, and it really isn't. I love watching my kids' faces light up as they start to grasp the joy of the season, the extra glitter and sparkle that touches nearly everything. Spending time with my family is something I treasure more now, introducing them to traditions that I grew up with and watching them become a part of the social fabric of that unit, the fourth generation in the room, with family in a way I didn't get to experience at their age.
But I won't lie that it causes me a twinge of pain to know there won't be anything for either of us under our own tree this year.
Because that just really rubs in the sacrifice of this past year -- all the change and the stress and the feeling of luck running out, being a small disaster away from being absolutely sunk.
And despite all the holiday decorating and cheery music, that puts a serious internal damper on my spirits.