Christmas is coming and for some reason I am beginning to get that panicky feeling about it, like I have so much to do and sadly, so much to buy...it's really not a good start to what is supposed to be a joyful and spiritual holiday.
Last year I wrote a post about my desire to let go of the consumerism aspect of Christmas and to focus more on the real meaning of the season- celebrating Christ's birth and giving to those we love (and to the less fortunate). And I'm thinking it may be time to revisit that post again and add to it as well for this year. So I have decided to continue my list from last year and have come up with more ideas of things that someone could make or give that won't cost anything (or very little in some cases).
The idea is to focus more on heart filled giving, spending quality time with friends and family, and not let Christmas become all about the latest and most expensive gadgets that won't even matter in a year's time. Don't get me wrong, I will still be buying a few gifts for my family and loved ones, but I am trying my best to make sure that they will be gifts that will be used and appreciated and not just "stuff" that will accumulate in a junk closet or something like that.
So here we go with my 2010 Buy Nothing Christmas List...
- do a trade of services. For example, I take photos and have been selling them at craft sales. This year I have traded some of my photos for other crafter's products. It's a win/win...I get something different to give and so do they. And it's even better because I am giving hand made gifts to my friends.
- make any of these ideas... soft book, an I spy game, recycled crayons, a pretty knock off, a christmas cd
- host a girls craft night. Get everyone to bring their extra craft supplies like scrap paper, fabric scraps, glue, beads...pile it all together and let everyone have fun making things.
- now that Noah is old enough to be babysat I can't tell you how much I appreciate a friend's offer to take Noah for an hour here and there so that to can have some time to myself. Free babysitting is the best gift ever!
- Last year I read of the sweetest family tradition ( I can't find it anymore). Basically what the parents did was put their kids to bed as they would a normal night (teeth brushed, jammies on) and when the children were in bed the parents would announce that it was time to go on a Christmas light tour. They would all pile into their van, enjoy hot chocolate and Christmas treats and would drive around their neighbourhood looking at the Christmas lights while listening to Christmas music....how sweet does that sound? The gift of a special memory and surprise, sounds lovely to me.
- Give the gift of a helping hand. Offer to make dinner for a friend who is busy and bring it over to their house. Offer to help put up their Christmas lights or to help them pick up a Christmas tree. Offer to take their kids to the park or to take their dog for a walk. Shovel someone's driveway.
- To the person who has everything, give them something from the Unicef Gifts of Magic Shop, it's sure to bring a smile to their face to know that they have helped children in crisis. I personally like giving their gift of art.
- Instead of gift exchanges do a food collection. If you are having a party, ask your guests not to bring a gift but instead a few canned goods to contribute towards the food bank. Make it a challenge and see how much you can collect.
- Every year my aunt buys a large fruit tray from the grocery store and drops it off at the local Salvation Army, where it is put out on Christmas Eve for people to enjoy. She tells us (my sisters and I) about it in her Christmas card and lets us know that she bought it on our behalf, which makes us feel good.
- For children's gifts, think of gifts that can be used more than once and that will encourage creativity. Books and good quality art supplies (paints, crayons, play-doh) are my go-to gifts.
- And of course ETSY is always a wonderful choice when it comes to handmade and vitage items.
I hope that this list has helped you think of a few ideas that you can do to make your Christmas less about things and more about love and giving. And here is a list of even more ideas to help you get kick started. I'd love to hear from you if you have any ideas to add to the list. Merry Christmas dear friends...may your days be merry and bright.