A Christmas Story (not the movie!)

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I (like most parents I know) love giving my children gifts that I know they will really enjoy. I look forward to seeing their faces light up when they receive something that they really wanted. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out quite as planned this Christmas.


This year my 12 year old had ONE thing that she wanted for Christmas–a specific Nintendo DS game. I diligently sought out the best price for the game, purchased it in November and hid it for the big day–check!

Christmas Eve came and, as we always do, we opened gifts with our immediate family. My daughter eagerly opened her presents, but when she opened the game her face fell.

“What’s the matter?” I asked.

“It’s the wrong game Mom, and for the wrong game system.”

I could tell that she was trying to keep her emotions in check, but tears were welling up in her eyes. It turns out that I had purchased a similar title rather than the one she requested, and for the 3DS instead of the regular DS. I hated disappointing her, but there was nothing I could do at that point.

It got worse.

Not only did I buy the wrong game for the 12 year old, I also purchased the wrong game for my 15 year old, and to make things even more interesting, the boots that I had purchased for the 14 year old had a rip in them that I hadn’t noticed. Santa had a really “off” year.

The children were gracious, but I felt terrible and promised that we would fix everything the day after Christmas.


So today I went out with the girls to exchange the two video games and the boots. I prayed for favor because I knew returns would be difficult on the day after Christmas and I wanted things to go smoothly.

It turns out that they went more than smoothly. There were very few people at the shoe store and my daughter was able to find an even better pair of boots and for $8 less! We then went to the video store where we were able to get the LAST copies of each of the 2 video games the girls wanted. We made the exchange and the cashier said,”You will be getting $21.90 back.”

What?! It turns out the game that the 12 year old wanted is on sale– as of today. So we ended up with the correct items and $29.90 back in my pocket!


I love how God redeems everything, even mistakes made by moms who don’t know the difference between a DS and a 3DS, and don’t inspect shoes before they purchase them. 😮


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  1. Brenda says

    I am so sorry that you were disappointed on Christmas morning. I really do not like that feeling at all I so want everyone to be excited. Our God is an awesome God and took care of everything for you……. My grandson had a list of games and I got so overwhelmed I went and got legos (talk about PRICEY) instead LOL

  2. jennifer hodge says

    You are a wonderful mom! You are raising good children! They cared more about your feelings than their own and they trusted your word to fix it the next day! Love that you got to shop together and that they have a new memory and you saved money! Thank you for sharing!

    • says

      Thanks for the encouragement Jennifer. I didn’t feel like a good mom at the time, but thankfully everything worked out. Like you said, we now have a new memory. :)

  3. Allison says

    I had a similar experience..I had broken my IPhone;s screen so got it replaced. I bought a replacement screen to turn it into a new an ITouch for my son and as I was doing it, I broke it…I was crestfallen…my husband tried to make me feel better and all I told him is that nothing could help this. See the night before, two days before Christmas, my son changed his mind on what he wanted from Santa. Nice! So I go to bed thinking that he is going to hate everything he gets. Well, ends up, he changed his mind and loves his gift from Santa and my husband decides to upgrade his phone and we are going to give my son his old one. It is such a life lesson that God has it all undercontrol…even the Santa gifts!

  4. Julie says

    We have had years like that. I’ll never forget my daughter wanting a Pokemon Black game. So I went out and bought a game titled Pokemon Black but what she really wanted was the one that was titled Pokemon White that had a black Pokemon on the cover. Talk about confusing. Unfortunately I couldn’t return it. I figure in these situations God is in control and He is giving them a greater gift of character. I have enjoyed reading your post. God bless you all in this new year.

      • Julie says

        Ha Ha. People will definitely disappoint them and things will not always go the way they plan but how good God is to show our children (and us) that His plans are always best. He can be trusted in all things.

  5. Jeannie says

    I bought my (very) irresponsible 12yr old stepson a (very) cheap and perfect condition DS. I was afraid he would be disappointed it was not the 3DS. He was thrilled that it was not the 3DS, because his old games for the system he lost would still work.

  6. L Woods says


    I agree with Jennifer Hodge. You are a wonderful mom. You are doing a wonderful job.

    Thank you for sharing this “Christmas Story”. I had something similar happen. Bought a shirt for my son. It was too small and he didn’t like the color. We returned it and got an additional $10 back.

    God is good ALL the time!

  7. Sharon says

    Hi Kimberlee,
    I just joined your subscription late last night and looked at your website for the first time this morning. Your sight is refreshing and calming to look at. It made me feel like 2013 might actually go better with your tools and info and it made me smile. Thank you.

  8. carol jones says

    as a grandmother of five (5 mos, 6 mos, 2, 5, and 8) and 2 children with spouses, and living parents (89 and 86 and 91) and 3 siblings with spouses and a niece with 2 teenage boys, and friends……please tell me…..did you make all of your gifts for a $300 christmas?
    if not, please share with us how you kept it at $300? I have not been following you during the holiday months, so if you have already shared this, please forgive me for asking you to repeat it. thanks!

    • says

      We had a $50 budget per child for our own children (they receive gifts from grandparents) and sent a homemade food gift to my two sister’s families. I made something for my mom and we bought a gift card for my mother-in-law. Everyone in our family knows our situation and we discussed ahead of time that we would not exchange gifts. We just sent the food gift as a little surprise for the cousins. I don’t expect everyone to do what we do–I’m just sharing so that people can try different ideas to see what works for them.

      • Sheila says

        This year my mom decided do do her special cooking for the older grandkids (out of high school) and kids. She filled the freezer with calzones and hot dog in a buns (hot dog dried off with bread dough wrapped around them cooked to golden)and gave us Christmas cards telling how many for each. Not too expensive as she planned ahead did sales and made her own bread dough. Every one is thrilled as they are quick meals very much enjoyed.
        My point is make something you know they will enjoy. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
        Love that your Christmas nightmare turned out so well. Positive lesson for all. As a teen my picky sister would get a Christmas card with money and pictures of clothes cut from a catalog ad. The promise was after Christmas shopping. Everyone was happy with the clearance prices and she got great deals.

  9. L Hartz says

    Do your children only get 1 gift each? Are they ok w/ that? Im not judging you or saying anything bad Im just trying to understand. I would love to keep a budget but lose all hope of 1 at Christmas……

    • says

      They get one large gift from us, two large gifts each from the grandparents and small items in their stockings. Of course, you should do what works for you. This works for us because we have done it this way for years, but I think it would be difficult to trim down a lot from one Christmas to the next.

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