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Sunday, November 15, 2009

buy nothing Christmas

A few years ago my sisters, dad and I decided that we were over the whole idea of buying each other gifts for Christmas. When we looked at our selves and our situations we thought, really we don't need anything and so we decided to pool some money and make a donation to a charity. One year we bought a bunch of school supplies for a school in Africa through Unicef. One year we purchased a water well through Ryan's Well (you should seriously read about how this one boy was able to make such an impact on so many people's lives). And already I am getting excited to see where we will make a donation to this year. The feeling that it gives us to give something to someone who needs such simple things such as water and school supplies makes us all feel very good. And that, I think is the true meaning behind giving.
I have to be honest though, it is very hard for me not to give something to my family and so I usually make a few hand made gifts to give which makes me feel a whole other type of happiness, because I LOVE creating and giving handmade things.
And so here are a few ideas of things that you can do to give something to someone special that comes from the heart and that doesn't cost much from your end:

  • make a collage of photos that you have taken or photos of the person who wish to give the gift to on a free photo editing program like Picasa and then print it off inexpensively at Walmart.
  • fill a recipe box with some of your favourite recipes. Hand written and decorated recipe cards are even nicer!
  • make stationary by decorating blank cards with stamps, prints, photographs. Package it up nicely.
  • give the gift of a full stomach by making a donation of food in a friend's name to your local food bank.
  • give the gift of warmth by donating wool socks and mittens to a homeless shelter.
  • give the gift of time by offering to babysit for a friend, pay a visit to someone who needs cheering up or do a chore for someone.
  • give the gift of health. Go for a winter hike. A snow shoe trip. Go skating (bring hot chocolate!)
  • Make a special date with a friend to go to the art gallery on a free night. Or take a drive to look at people's Christmas lights. Have a games night with Scrabble, pictionary, charades!
  • make a mixed cd for a friend of songs that you think reflect her and her attitude.
  • write a letter to someone, decorate it nicely and send it in the mail!
These are just a few ideas to get you (and myself) thinking. Here is a great website for more inspiration. And of course we couldn't forget a certain lady's website that always has great ideas for handmade gifts. What will you be giving to those you love this Christmas? Please feel free to add more ideas in the comment box!


  1. hello johanna.. i love the idea of a mix cd for friends and family. i had to give you a shout of CONGRATS. you've won my cupcake tee giveaway. hooray. please visit my blog giveaway for details and let me know what size and tee. THANK YOU.


  2. p.s. my email is

  3. wow! yipee! hooray! this is just such exciting news, thank you!

  4. What a wonderful idea to pool some money and make a donation to charity - so thoughtful to give to those who need it. A great way to appreciate the true meaning of Christmas and gift-giving.

  5. Great ideas!
    I hope as Alexis gets older to have her make presents for family members, so that she learns the act of giving, rather then just receiving! This year I made a cross stitch for my mom with the saying "When a baby is born, so too is a Grandmother"

  6. This is such a great post!!

    I did that one year, made all of my friends and family recipe boxes and filled them up with my favorite recipes. It was a huge hit.

    This year we're doing a "buy less" Christmas, haha. A lot of things are handmade, and a lot of things we've bought from yard sales and ebay. Very few things we're buying brand new, and even then we refuse to pay full price.

    A completely buy-less Christmas would probably the best Christmas ever though.

  7. These are great ideas! I have already gotten started on some handmade gifts for some of my loved ones too.


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