Being Thankful for the Little We Have

by Merissa on December 23, 2011

in Thrifty Living

Have you ever seen the scene from the Little House on the Prairie tv show about a Christmas on Plum Creek? The look on the girls faces is precious when they see their candy and their new cups but the look on Ma's face almost made me cry when she received her sweet potatoes.

Can you imagine getting that as a gift? A few sweet potatoes, and being so excited to have them? I know this is only a television portrayal of what actually happened so I'll quote from the books,

"She looked up again when Ma gasped. And Mr. Edwards was taking sweet potatoes out of his pockets. He said they had helped to balance the package on his head when he swam across the creek. He thought Pa and Ma might like them with the Christmas turkey. There were 9 sweet potatoes. Mr. Edwards had brought them all the way from town, too. It was just too much. Pa said so, "It's too much, Edwards, " he said. They never could thank him enough." ~ Little House on the Prairie

I also really love this part of the book when the girls were looking in their stockings,

" Ma asked if they were sure the stockings were empty. They put their arms down inside them to make sure. And in the very toe of each stocking was a shining bright, new penny! They had never even thought of such a thing as having a penny. Think of having a cup and a cake and a stick of candy and a penny. There had never been such a Christmas." ~ Little House on the Prairie

All I'm saying is that even though we may not always be able to give our families everything they might want for Christmas, we have to try and appreciate what we have and what we do get. I like when I find little reminders like this video and these quotes to remind me that it's not the volume of what I can give, it's what it means to the receiver as well. To quote the cliche phrase, "It's the thought that counts." And I really think it is, and those that you give your homemade and well thought out gifts too will think so too:)

Print Friendly

Disclaimer: This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

12:00 pm

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous December 24, 2010 at 1:39 am

What a great reminder! Right now, I'm looking at a tree surrounded by gifts, yet what I'm really thankful for is the chance to spend this Christmas with my family!


2 Sherry Gibbs Atanasoff December 23, 2011 at 12:15 pm

We are in a position this year of being very poor & not being able to buy anybody in our family gifts, except for our daughter. I am hoping that our extended family will be understanding, but if not, God knows our hearts and I am so thankful for all that we do have. My wonderful husband and 4-year-old miracle daughter are all I need, as well as the best gift of all, Jesus!


3 Dee Ann Stock December 13, 2013 at 2:40 pm

One of our best Christmases was when we didn’t have $ to buy presents so we gave our belongings to each other. The kids still say it was the best Christmas ever! God bless you! Keep your chin up! Dee


4 Retro Wifey December 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Sherry I understand how you feel, we have been there before and you are right God knows our heart and thats all that should matter. Holidays can be so stressful it makes it so hard to enjoy.


5 Start Right: Build Your Own Business December 23, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Loved those books growing up and I think of their Christmases often when I hear about shopping madness, people being trampled or pepper-sprayed – just for stuff. They were happy with so little, compared to our lives. And really, I think we all long for simplicity. Merry Christmas!


6 steph December 23, 2011 at 3:08 pm

love this
i am a big little house fan. and yes, when i saw your post on facebook, i thought of the penny. and then your post mentioned it!

I remember later when they shared their pennies.
ah, America has changed so much…


7 Charity December 23, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Merissa – this is my heart, too. That’s why we’re returning to simpler times amongst all the commericalism. It’s hard to imagine life without all the commericalism because you are indunated with it 24/7 before Thanksgiving. Thanks for this precious reminder. We are so grateful for all we have.


8 just me December 30, 2011 at 6:52 pm

It’s been a long time since i’ve seen that episode. Little house is on tv here at 9am every day. If I don’t have to work I watch it. I wish they still made shows like that. Tv isn’t worth turning on anymore other than watching Little house and the Andy Griffith show.
The character of Carolyn Ingalls always impressed me, her gracious nature, her simple but elegant beauty, the faith and love she had for her family and community. Any descent man would give his life to have a mate like her. I know I would.


9 Angie May 28, 2012 at 2:58 pm

I LOVE these reminders of how spoiled we think we need to be! I am grateful for your blog, for the ideas & actual living of how to live well with what you have. It is a blessing to read your modern-day version of so many “Little House” principles. Thank you!


10 Amber July 20, 2012 at 10:03 pm

I’m a fairly newish reader, although it’s been awhile, but I’ve never gone through entries, and as I LOVE the Little House series, I had to comment. 😉

That part of the book is one of my favorites because they were SO thankful for the little things. I love that, and I wish that kids now were that same way. But that part, knowing that Edwards had done extra and was kind…it tugs at your emotions. 🙂


11 Merissa October 5, 2012 at 1:58 pm

It really does. Everyone’s hearts were in the right places here:)


12 Shannon Steffen October 19, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Wow! I’ve been reading your blog all morning – after quite a few financial hiccups in our family. I have to say, this is the best post by far. It is such a simple – yet profound – reminder of what is important in life. Thank you from the bottom of my soul for making me smile – regardless of our finances.


13 Sherry E. December 10, 2013 at 8:25 am

I have been making gifts for 5 decades…on occasion I have bought gifts and there has been an uproar EVERY time. I get calls saying, “Are you ok?” When I assure them I am well, I get the “third degree” on why I didn’t make their gifts. Bottom line…my family and friends appreciate the time, effort, thought and love that goes into each and every offering wrapped in hand – decorated tissue paper and delivered (sometimes late) to their doorsteps.


14 Laura December 10, 2013 at 9:13 am

I suppose it may sound strange to say this is another reason I’m glad I grew up relatively poor. We very rarely got toys as kids for Christmas, it was always winter socks, winter hats/gloves and new snow boots if we were lucky (mine would be boys boots because they were cheaper). The stockings were our biggest thrill because the cheap gadgets seemed like a lottery! A baby stapler, Pez dispensers, pocket-size note pads, etc.

I once lived with a boyfriend for about five years who was very wealthy. He complained that his parents tried to “buy him” at Christmas time by giving an extreme excess of toys. And yet, he did the same with me it seemed; designer purses (5 or 6 at at time), other really expensive and elaborate things that I didn’t need or necessarily want. Stockings had gift cards to very high-end spas, etc. I suppose many women might be thrilled, but for me it all felt very shallow and empty. I didn’t care about designer purses, didn’t he know me at all?

After I left him I moved to another state and bought a little cottage in the woods and I keep chickens, and being physically disabled now I’m quite poor again but extremely happy. Christmas this year consists of my mini-tree (with a tin foil star topper) on the picture windowsill and strung cranberries and popcorn on the door frames. The kitties each have a catnip toy coming and the dog is getting a chew toy. And I’m getting the joy of watching the pets chase each other around and act like fools with their goodies. And I’ll drink my “good tea”. What more could I possibly want? I even have sweet potatoes at the moment. Life is good.


15 Ash July 2, 2014 at 5:26 pm

I know I’m late but I’ve only just come across the site. I just wanted to say that I LOVE this post. Blessings!


16 Mary December 10, 2013 at 4:22 pm

I know how it can be when you have limited funds to use toward your Christmas celebration. Last year I was in that situation and ended up making a lot of the gifts I gave. I had just read the book “German Boy” by Wolfgang Samuels which is a book that tells about a young boy in post war Germany who later becomes an American citizen and airforce pilot. He went through several Christmases that were just like any other day when he had no gifts or celebration.. My heart went out to him as a little child and what his family went through to survive. It helped me put it all in perspective overcame.


17 Michelle December 12, 2013 at 4:45 pm

I am so happy to have stumbled across your website a couple of days ago!! I went through a divorce this summer and December 29th would have been our 25th anniversary. In an amazing turn of events I have re-connected with an old high school boyfriend and he is coming to visit for the holidays. I am trying to learn how to be more frugal and will be unable to buy my grown children as much for Christmas this year, but am finding joy in the simple things. Your website is helping to remind me of my blessings from God and how to “make the most of what I already have.” Thank you and Merry Christmas.


18 Pamela March 19, 2015 at 4:29 pm

Thanks for this post!


Leave a Comment

Thanks for taking a moment to share your thoughts and your story. I love to hear from you and love when you are able to add something constructive to the conversation! Please remember this is a supportive and encouraging community. LHL reserves the right to delete any personal attacks, rude or offensive language, or anything not deemed family friendly. If you don't have anything nice to say, please keep it to yourself.

See our Comment Policy for more information.