Women History Month Apply Today

We are in year 3 of women month here at Toitimeblog. It’s where we show an extra appreciation towards women who are doing things and paving the way. With that being said I want to encourage women from ALL backgrounds to apply to be featured. This is a month long celebration and I can do one blog or more a day. It’s a great opportunity for women to showcase what they have done and where they are headed. There have been some amazing women who have answered the call and helped to shine the light.

I get every year women saying they have nothing to offer that would be an encouragement to others but that is simply not true. From the single mom doing what she can to support her family to the woman who is the head on a board of directors we ALL have a story. Consider sharing the story with those around you. Women run the world of course but while we do we need to learn to encourage the ones under us to be the best versions of themselves. If I listened to others tell me that I have no story I wouldn’t have birthed this blog 5 years ago. The ways in which it grew came from being authentic and I hope it’s a source of help to those who seek to read whether you are simply curious or just want to see what I am up to-let’s keep it going! Thank you to all the women who have done it in the past and if you have any amazing updates I would love for you to come back and share as well!

It’s simple to apply:

Send an email to toitimeblog@gmail.com

Know that when you do I will send you your questions and all you have to do is answer them inside of the email. I will type up your blog and attach a picture of your choosing and if I have questions and most likely I will contact you to clarify your statements. I do the work and we learn a little more about you.

The faster we get the entries I can pre-edit and I will let you know the day that your blog will post. My blog can be set ahead of time (which works for all of us) so that we all can continue living.

SO let’s go ahead and get involved!

We take women serious around here. I don’t allow anyone to be mad fun of here or allow the space to be used for bitter arguments and pettiness. We encourage women to strive to greatness knowing we are going to make mistakes along the way. We walk in grace and allow that grace and hard work to push us ahead. 

I love learning about some of the best women all around the world!

 

Harrietts Book Store

 People say that book stores are no longer necessary due to eBooks, E-readers, etc. Content a lot of it anyway can be found online. I beg to differ. I was told the same thing when I started blogging. I was told it was a completely saturated field and people only wanted to influence aka be online and take pictures. Thank goodness Jeannine didn’t listen the naysayers.

Comfort place

Bookstores are my number one place that I personally go to get centered, get some quiet, have peace, sometimes create, and to unwind from stress. Its always been my number one go to growing up. If I said I needed to go to my retreat a lot of close family and friends knew I was headed to the bookstore where I would spend literally hours just escaping and having the time of my life. I have always been an avid reader. I was in my car and I saw a post about Harriett’s Bookstore. I was shocked. There was a new and even Black woman owned bookstore in Philadelphia and I wasn’t aware of it? The sheer excitement came over me. I immediately contacted Jeannine so I could come and interview her and check out the space.

My firsts impression was that it’s a beautifully aesthetic. The vibe is absolutely perfect. Jeannine greeted me with a smile, incense burning, quiet, and breathtaking. I felt at home, loved, and honored just to walk into the store. When I tell you how much peace is felt I can’t describe it. Its like being at a family member’s home who you trust who also makes the best comfort food. What I love about it is you are surrounded by books and artist who are women. Women who may or may not have a large following but are dedicated to their craft. Jeannine wanted to give space to the underdogs. One of the best ways you can support women is by giving them space to be the artist that they are. Support by buying their pieces.  Support by rallying behind them and that is exactly what Jeannine is doing.

Why Harrietts?!

I asked her why the name Harriett. She let me know that she spells the traditional Harriet with two T’s. It is to honor Harriet Tubman. As a child she felt drawn to her spirit.  When she was younger her and her sisters did a resurrection of the ancestors as a piece and she choose Harriet Tubman. Jeannine is an educator as well as a writer and a creative. She wrote a piece from the perspective of what Harriet Tubman would be saying if she was whispering in her ear, “It’s me they follow, it’s me they follow.” This piece also was taken, and an artist made it into an interpretive dance almost 10 years ago. Harriet Tubman took Courage in stepping out and helping to free slaves and Jeannine is using the same courage to step out and do what others said she couldn’t, open a book store and make it a community hub.

She recalls writing an email to her sister complaining about this idea of a book store and her sister resent her an email that she had sent with the same complaint. It was like a gut punch to the chest. Here she was in the same space with this burning idea and she had not brought it to fruition. Ideas never die. They simply wait for you to breath life into them. Jeannine knew what she had to do but how could she remain fiscally responsible being a single mother and leap into her dream? “Once you commit to a dream nothing can stop it” and that’s what Jeannine did.

Local artist Ivy the Vine

Courage

We see the things that Harriet Tubman did. Did that mean she did them without fear? No. Courage is walking in the face of fear knowing that you are prepared to do whatever it takes to see something through. Interesting enough Jeannine mother is blind. She grew up in times where her mother would either have limited sight or no sight at all yet in still, she traveled the world and took care of others. Do you not see the strength that Jeannine comes from? Oh, and if that isn’t enough to just channel the spirit of Harriet, Jeannine’s mother parent name was Courage. It all ties into who she is and what she is becoming. That sent chills up my spine and let me tell you why. When you walk in your purpose, things will align just like that even if a hurdle or two comes up. The ancestors are walking with Jeannine. There is no bigger figure in history that exudes courage like Harriet. She could have saved a few and no one would have judged her, but she took this courage knowing it could cost her life and she trekked on. 

One of the most important things that has carried Jeannine is discernment. She has it and it helped her along the way. Its been principle when people even in love told her that this was a silly idea. Silly in theory to go against practicability vs responsibility. To start something that others deemed would be a lost in profit along the way, yet she sold out of books just from opening her doors and hasn’t even had the Grand Opening which is scheduled for February 1st. Her goals are to not only have a book store but to be a community hub. She has made sure she puts a dog treat bowl out. Makes sure its always warm and welcoming. She’s even working with Swarthmore to have teachers come and set up a children’s room so that young kids can experience an open the conversation about activism and community involvement early on.  

Crossing the list

Jeannine was super nervous about crossing this milestone that was year in the making. From taking this idea from inception, complaint and sitting it down to picking it back up and turning it into what is Harrietts. 

If we could learn something from Jeannine is that not all ideas are safe. Stepping out in courage like Harriet Tubman doesevoke the love of courage-while supporting women activist and authors as they continue their own journey of success is going to keep Harrietts here for quite some time.

Harrietts is open daily from 10-6:00pm. How we can support is come in and purchase a new book from amazing authors. Support by taking space here and coming in droves to bring others in.

Thank you Jeannine and I appreciate your extensive collection-I also made my own purchase Toni Morrison’s Home! I plan to finish this as I travel at the end of the month.

Feel free to also come and be at the Grand Opening on February 1, 2020!

Follow Harrietts on Instagram!

Sunday Message: Your tribe Matters

It’s one thing to be born into a family and not be able to choose who you are around. It’s another to consistently pick the wrong tribe and blame it on others.

Often times the one you choose reflects who you are. That can change from time to time. When I was in college not all of my college friends reflect who I am today! I’ve changed. My tribe has changed as well. It’s very rare to be who you are through all phases in life. Life changes and so does your taste in friends. It’s okay to acknowledge when something no longer works! It doesn’t mean you are stuck up or that you are being mean to people just because you are choosing to expand your circle.

Who’s in the circle?

Ask yourself why you hang with whom you hang with! Do they build you? Are they one sided? You know the friends who want you to uplift every achievement who won’t even say congratulations to even the biggest or smallest of things! Does your circle include those who make you genuinely feel loved? Do they remember the important days? Do they make you feel like you need to step up! Are they truly in your corner? If you answer anything in the negative about your circle it’s time to change the circle a bit!

Natural Progression

Sometimes instead of wrecking shop and upsetting the balance you could especially for friends who don’t do as much let the relationship have a natural fizzle! This means you could simply allow the lack of communication etc. continue! After awhile it will fade and you can let it fade or you can have a conversation and speak genuinely to the person to let them know you are just going into separate directions! This is for adults! Meaning kid and kid like folks who want to play games this isn’t for you. To be an adult means that at times you need to have uncomfortable conversations. It doesn’t feel good to end things but it’s necessary.

Cut the Cord

There are times when you can’t let things naturally progress. You have to be super clear about the intentions and cut folks off. You can do this a number or ways. I like direct conversations. Sometimes you can talk it out and find ways to mend even at the moment of ending it! However there is no need to keep people in your life who don’t even serve a greater good for you. Why? What’s the point? I get some folks have been in your life but longevity doesn’t equate to meaningful forever stay. Some folks are super mean and they don’t think you will ever walk away because you haven’t in the past. In 2020 we need to have conversations about what works and what doesn’t and it’s okay to be the adult that you are and acknowledge it’s time to cut the cord. You can wish folks well and distance yourself! You don’t have to be mean to tell people you are done!!

Know yourself

Do you get mad and easily irritated and take that out on your friends? Sometimes it’s not your tribe that’s the issue it could be you! Sorry to say that there are some who tear their friend circle with their own hands. You can’t be so demanding. Every group has a natural leader or two! Just because you are the leader doesn’t mean you can demean others. If you are the cause of many frictions deal with you! I’m the type that looks in first before I point out to others! You might really need to do a self check in how you act with those around you.

So it’s one thing to not be able to pick family but you need to work on your tribe! Your tribe is all about who you allowed into it! You can’t get mad at the tribe you picked!

Let’s clear the path for those around us to help us to be our best versions!!! Let’s define the tribe!

No short cuts in this Blogging Life

So, Hey Friday! It’s already Friday whew! Thank God! I mean I can’t complain about that. However, trying to continue moving in this week has been interesting. I was sick on New Year Eve night and it came on super sudden. I was planning on going to a friend’s party with the kids. However, a sinus infection took over my life. I looked like Rudolph and I barely made it to midnight. I had fallen asleep and had to be awaken by my family. Since we had no plans of being home shout out to my husband who knows how I love for my family to have New Year gear he stepped up to the plate. Not many options at 8pm New Year Eve night but there’s always a man on the corner hustling so he got the items from him. No shade to the hustler and my kids had a great time jumping around me as I sat miserable looking like I had a hangover when we toasted the New Year to sparking cider. 

Grind don’t stop

So now that we have been for some I would say “back to the grind” for the 2 days since I have made sure that my first quarter goals are set. I am working ahead on a few projects in the works and attempting to still get these sinuses together. If you ever had a sinus infection you already know my already big head feels like it’s going to fall over. SO, what are you working on?  What have you done so far in the 3 days? I know its like wait a minute its only been 3 days, but you must understand that most folks who are ambitious are already securing the bags and moving forward. So, don’t leave an opportunity behind or not go towards a goal. I am working on one that is taking everything in me to finish. Its one thing for someone to ask what’s your passion project and know they can help fund it and make it happen. Its overwhelming process. They say dream big and the dream scares you to put it onto paper and act on it. This is where I am and, in a week, or so I must complete. It sounds easy until you must take these plans from dreamworld to reality. 

What’s my biggest struggle?

Trying to formulate my words into an action plan. To say here is what I see my future life to be. This is my career and here’s the blueprint to make that happen. Its scary. To be honest it felt like the sinus infection came the second I started to put pen to paper and write. That is how I felt and that is what is happening. The pressure within only myself to see myself in the future tense feels debilitating. I don’t want to fail and to be honest it’s not fully focused on failure as much as it feels scary to ask. To say hey can you help me make this happen. It’s a leap of faith that even if I must tweak the plan is crazy to be in this position to ask. When I was that stay at home mom after being laid off, I was scared. I had the stability of my fiancé at the time who is my now husband. It felt great but I wanted more. I worked my whole life and being comfortable by just existing isn’t enough. Since than and 2 more kids later the dream inside of me to show my daughters that you can go after whatever you want is important to me. I want them to be proud of the moves I made instead of resenting them.  

Any Means Necessary

I remember the days when I would cry because it seemed as if I had a kid attached at the hip. When my kids got sick, we played rock, paper, scissors to see who would stay home. We always discussed what made more sense.  He had the stable job, but we needed him to save up for bigger emergencies. Because I had a 3-year break in employment even with a college degree and a strong resume I had to take temporary jobs to supplement. Its not a cake walk. You never know what people are working towards in their lives just because you see smiles in the pictures. I would do it all over again if it meant a stability for my kids. They are always in the forefront of my mind. I felt like such a failure at moments, but I knew it wouldn’t last long. Dreams come with hard work, tears, frustrations, and sometimes a desire to give up but don’t! I would love to say I started from the top and stayed but I really started from the bottom and I seek to stay grounded. I want to reach for the stars and keep my wits about me. I don’t take for granted any opportunities that come my way. I don’t forget the mornings I stayed awake after working a 3rdshift job to prevent paying daycare so the kids were taken care of. I would go from an event, wash my face, put on work clothes and work like I wasn’t just brushing elbows with the tops of the city. I was born from a mother who worked her butt off and a father who did the same. If any glow up is coming it’s not because it was handed to me. I worked hard and will continue to work hard for myself and my family.

How bad do you want it? If you want to it-go work for it and go, get it this year! I’m not going to water down that I get to travel and do what I do. Not with all the work I do and push behind the scenes. Work hard and enjoy it not work hard and be miserable still!

Oh and it’s Women Rock day! Tell a woman you know that they rock! To all my ladies please know you rock. You can take on it all and look like you never touched the fire. You can have whatever you want and balance it all too! Take time for yourself!

People’s Light Presents: Little Red Robin Hood

I was originally going to take one of my kids so I wouldn’t be one of the only ones in there with no children but the way this weekend and the stomach virus went down I was on my solo trip! I must say this was a brilliant mix of Little Red Riding Hood and Robin Hood that I’ve ever seen. From the second the show started, I knew kids or not I would have a ball of fun.

This was my first Panto style play. However I was so thoroughly impressed. Although I’ve attended many plays at People’s Light this was my first time at the Leonard C Hass Stage. I got the same warm welcome as I always do! This stage has the cafe and has two levels of entrance. I went in on the second floor and made my way downstairs. I absolutely loved it.

This Musical Panto was absolutely crowd pleasing and engaging to say the least. This isn’t your simple watch and enjoy musical. Throughout your asked questions, sing, dance, and just enjoy those around you. Nothing brings people together more than a great performance.

Each actor played unique parts that told the story of how Lady Nottingham tried to take over the Forrest to make her new fur business take off doesn’t go as planned. Played by Mary Elizabeth Scallen she is the villain you love to hate. Accompanied by Lupo the Big Bad Wolf who is employed by Lady Nottingham to “take care” of Maud aka Granny the whole tryst is such a love story, family reunion, and a who’s who of sorts. The journey brings about a unity of the Forrest as well as allows Amelia aka Little Red to discover her abilities and who she is. It’s like a family entertainment for everyone with adult punchlines too.

I loved how engaging the play was from the actors coming into the crowd to talk to you, a little righteous candy giving, and even some crowd stage participation-it kept everyone on their toes. I met as I always do a young lady who was there alone as well. We chatted up in between the intermission. This play was about 2 hours long with about a 10 minute intermission. It didn’t feel long at all and although there were kids as young as 3-4 years old not one was antsy or a disruption to the rest of the patrons. I think the fact that the singing grabs and keeps your attention helps. I saw young and old singing along together and it was the best part of my Saturday!!

I didn’t have my most favorite character which is rare. The reason being they all had such large stage presence. I mean amazing voices both their acting voice and singing I was extremely impressed. They all brought such great personalities. However if someone made me choose I would go with Maud! Maud stayed in character on and off the stage!!

Maud aka Granny after the show had me laughing so hard I didn’t even care to get a better shot this was the shot!

This is such a great holiday get together that I was originally scheduled to go before Christmas and ended up going right after it. This is a good family time musical. Everyone of all ages will leave smiling from ear to ear. Also we were greeted by the actors while leaving as well.

If I had a suggestion for you as you attend I would say come with the mindset that as a musical you are going to have some of these tunes in your head. I left out with so much energy. Also the snacks aren’t expensive so if you have little kids and you end up having to get them a snack it’s not back breaking at all. Bathrooms are clearly marked and even if you have to leave they do try to find a time for you to re-enter. However be aware because the actors are coming into the crowd you might have to wait a little bit.

The singing from the actors/actresses were phenomenal. I have to throw my hat off to all of the actors but more importantly to Mrs. Higglebottom she was blowing!!

So is it worth a second viewing? It’s one thing to try it once but if it’s worth a second viewing than its golden and I definitely would view it a second time. It’s worth a second viewing. I would take my whole family as I know for sure they would feel the same way as I did leaving.

With all good things you don’t have much time to see it!!! Little Red Robin Hood is leaving with your last chance being on January 5th. So get your tickets here!

Arden Children’s Theatre Presents: Snow Queen

I have 3 angry little children in my house. They had no idea that I would be attending the show; The Snow Queen. However I will be changing that. This was my first time at the Arden Children’s Theatre. As you know I love theatre and think that all people should have the opportunity to attend shows. I’m glad to know that Arden Theatre feels the same and donates tickets to children and patrons who might not otherwise have the opportunity. This is due in large to patrons donating a ticket price at the end of their shows.

There are so many reasons why Snow Queen gets a great two thumbs up!

When I see a show I try to view it from many different angles. Although I attended the show with Phillyfoodgal and it seemed as if we were the only ones who didn’t have kids with us it really is a show for all ages. It’s witty, dynamic and most importantly interactive.

Length of Show

I thought the length of the show was just right. It wasn’t too short which I thought it might be since it is a children’s theatre. Because is it’s interactive nature it has an intermission about 45 minutes into the show right as the kids wanted to begin being antsy. There was a set of kids behind us and they did well and were about the same ages of my youngest children. From the lights and actions The Snow Queen kept all of the kids right in the action!

Interaction

Depending on where you sit there is snow falling which the big kid in me loves. Beach balls and other interactive play happening at one time. It adds to the kids sensory play in my opinion. It’s the perfect way to hold the kids attention. For theatre at such a young age it’s perfect. Let me also give a great compliment to the actors who held a question and answer afterwards. Their ability to help the children formulate their questions without making them feel bad was the best.

Actor Alex Bechtel speaking to a child after the performance

Will the kids love it?

Absolutely yes! It’s a great family time show that kids of all ages will love. The story follows the Snow Queen as she attempts to a “loyal” subject to help fix her mirror. In this quest it takes Gerda on a seasonal trek to find out about herself and her abilities. The whole cast turns into a life size dream world to help facilitate the changing of seasons. It’s colorful, bold, filled with amazing songs and each actor has such a stage presence that even the characters who you don’t want to like you love! Your child will have much to talk about once leaving this show. FYI it’s not Frozen. I know a lot of the kids near me kept saying it but by the time they left they instinctively had a clear line. Also they do a great job talking lightly about topics such as anxiety. I loved this since kids of all ages and a lot of adults deal with it! Making it normal because it is a normal part of life stuck out to me!

Things to know

The stage is round in the sense. There are marked off yellow lines like construction lines so that you don’t cross over. I would encourage kids to go to the bathroom prior to the show but if like kids they have to go during there is only 2 ways to leave the theatre and you will be directed.

There is a concession stand for food and drinks. You can bring them into the theatre. Allot about 10-15 minutes prior to the show to grab them as the lines can be long. The prices aren’t bad either! Oh the cups they have the cups with the sippy like tops! These cups even for adults are amazing and provide a keepsake to take home!!

Daniel Ison plays Cei and a Troll

Please consider donating at the end of your show. Right now they have a donor willing to match each donation. It takes $14 dollars to send a kid who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend a show and now that one $14 with the match sends 2 kids to a show! That’s super amazing to me. I was exposed to theatre because my mother majored in it and had grown up with it her whole life. Not everyone has that as their story line. Often outside of a movie that’s the only acting that some kids think about because of lack of exposure.

Snow Queen played by Katherine Fried

Little known gem: The Cat and the Hat is coming in the Spring. I will be in the building with my 3 kids for sure! I also can’t wait to see it in the Spring.

Eunice Akinola plays Gerda and Troll

Jo Vito Ramirez plays John, Fred, Troll, Robber and Narcissus

To the actors

You had such amazing charisma. I was sitting there like a big kid enjoying every minute because you brought each character to life. You did above and beyond to make me see you as your individual characters. All of your stage presence was seen. Afterwards thank you for taking pictures with me too!

Alex Bechtel plays Mr. Oversku, JJ, Bae, Snow Drop, and Troll

Thank you to Phillyfoodgal for inviting me. I had the best time. Thank you to Bryan Buttler Media for the arrangements. Thank you to the Arden Theatre Company. I love what you are doing. Thank you to ALL staff who helped even the volunteers of the night!

Mary Fishburne plays Mrs. Fyn, Rose, Robber, and Troll

I look forward to the Spring Show as well as bringing my own to this show.

Jenna Kuerzi plays Elisa, Lil, Robber Girl, Bindweed, and Troll

FYI the Snow Queen ends January 26th. This is plenty of time to take your family to see this. I also highly recommend it while the kids are out of school. Although the gift giving is almost over I would recommend the gift of theatre. Kids have enough toys gift them experiences! For tickets click here!

Kala Moses Baxter plays Grandmother, Mrs. Dear, Robber Woman, and Troll

Snow Queen and Phillyfoodgal

Christmas Debate: What’s Overspending for the Holidays?

When I was growing up I used to make comments about how much someone spent for the holidays.  If I thought it was too much it was a problem.  If I thought it was too little it was an issue. Since having children of my own I have come to this resolution-spend what you want as long as the days after the holidays your bills are still paid, money is in the bank, and you aren’t borrowing. Even if you are it’s your choice to do so. This whole debacle on who sets the limits on the holidays is getting out of hand. People are spending hours online with strangers arguing on who sets the limits. You do realize the one who sets the limits is the one who makes the coin to contribute. I remember having an event a few years and just merely letting the other party know that at the end of the day I make the rules who plans to spend the coin. It’s simple. 

Spend it all?

Does that mean that I need to spend it all up? No I don’t as a rule of thumb. I budget and only spend what is necessary to get the job done. I know that my kids will get from others so I don’t go trying to overspend. For me we get them 5 gifts a piece and stocking stuffers because when they are home for Christmas break we make sure they do fun activities instead of being on tablets or watching television the whole time. It’s a plan that has worked for us. Sometimes in the earlier years we did a gift here or there more but the 5 work for us.  As they get older the number will go down. Why? As they get older their items will cost more. It’s the way it works. A doll in my house with the way I work coupons etc. I could spend at around 100 for each kid and come out balling on certain items. I might have spent like 40 for a toy that they really wanted and I really had to overthink spending that. I have become more of a saver and the thrill of coming under my goal makes me happy. I spent 400 last year for 7 kids for toys including clothes.  Those are the types of numbers I like to work with. 

Humble kids helps

My kids are humble and child-like. I could wrap up a coloring book and they would be happy. I have yet to see them smirk or give an attitude. I am blessed.  Some kids ask for phones and laptops to where my oldest is still asking for doll and doll houses. She’s 10 by the way. I know she wants a phone because all of her friends have one but to be honest, she doesn’t need it right now. We will and soon pull that trigger as she becomes more involved in out of school and in school activities having communication with her will be vital. Our plan is to take that phone like we do her tablet. She can’t have it during the school week unless at an event, and she can’t have it in her room overnight while she sleeps even on the weekend. This way we control it as much as we can. We have asked her why she wants a phone and her answers having been convincing us that she wants it for the right reasons. We are teaching her to move in her way that makes sense for her not for those around her. So for now she wants to play on Snapchat she can use my phone. She can unlock it with her face since we look alike. She always asks for permission etc. I want to teach her how to use it and monitor social media appropriately. Some might not agree with my hands on approach but I can only do what I feel is best and what I feel will have her in the less amount of danger. When she gets to the point that we are paying the bill and she’s still a kid we will be monitoring that phone like a hawk.

How much is too much?

How much a parent spends on their kids is up to them.  If they spend a thousand or a dollar its up to them.  I do not want to get into a debate about what is considered spoiling because we don’t know what the parents do to earn their living. If you have more to spend, spending 500 for each kid may not seem like a big issue compared to someone who all they have is 500 to spread. And yes I hear some saying I don’t care if I did have 500 to spend on each child I wouldn’t do it-its your choice as well. Choices come with no opinion stamp of approval necessary. Even if you take $500 and you look at what you can spend for a child, it isn’t that much money. An electronic takes up a third of that, a few outfits, some new shoes or sneakers and it’s not that hard to spend. I also do things like coupon during the year, taking the savings and using that towards the holidays. Some people do the same. Others shop all year long not just during the expensive holiday time and so even 10 or more gifts could have been extremely cheap. 

Who footing the bill?

My new mindset is as long as the parents who seem to spend more money on their kids aren’t asking me for loans or their lights etc. aren’t being shut off-more power to you. Life is hard enough than having to get others to agree with a decision that didn’t affect their pocketbook. I stand by those sentiments. We have no idea what people do to make things happen for their children. I am more interested in the parent who has the heart to purchase but can’t.  Those are the ones my heart goes for because I know how much it would hurt me if I couldn’t get my kids anything at all. It’s one thing to blame materialistic parents and another thing not to recognize that for a parent no greater joy during the holidays is seeing children open gifts. Even if those gifts aren’t the most expensive the joy comes in the thought behind the gift giving. So to the parents who are doing their best, keep in mind that there are some less fortunate. Do things for others this season. I was blessed to help two families this season, not for clout or recognition but because I want others to experience the joy of seeing their kids smile on Christmas day. If you agree with gift giving (as some do not) than make your budget what you see fit. Do what works for you without going into debt. Some we know will go into debt. They will forget what the season is all about. They will even in their own right overspend but you know what? It’s their choice to do so. So you won’t see me bash a parent for their choices. The debate stops at my bank account. If I am not financing it I have not right to make an opinion that merits much if I am not the one footing the bill.