We were all quite worried

When I was a kid, Christmas was always a big deal in my family. Even though our father passed away while we kids were still quite young, my mother still made every effort to give us all sorts of presents and just be able to celebrate at Christmas. She would even take second jobs so she could make ends meet and still buy gifts. We would often scrimp and save on other things, such as the air conditioning or the heating. In summer, my mom would set the thermostat quite high so the a/c would not run all day long. It was never super comfortable, but it was always bearable. The same thing was true in the winter. We did not really need the heater all that often, but when we did, mom set the thermostat quite low, again in an effort to save on heating and cooling costs. When I look back on it now, it does not bother me that we were conservative with our air conditioning and heater. In fact, I am still that way as an adult. I do not believe in spending too much money, and utilities are definitely a huge cost each month. I do remember one year when I was still pretty young – perhaps I was around fifteen years old – and my oldest brother and his wife were being very sneaky around Christmas time. I knew they were up to something, but I did not know what it was. It turned out that they decided to pay the heating and cooling costs for two months for my mom as her Christmas present. They came and got the bill, which was a month behind, and paid it all the way up. My mom cried, and that was really the first time I realized how hard my mom’s life was.

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