When I wrote yesterday about the awesome wooden toys we found at a thrift store, a reader wondered if we would do our holiday shopping in thrift stores. So I thought I’d share my holiday gift plans. First, I have to say that we try very hard to keep the holidays pretty low key around here. We will be getting a little Charlie Brown tree this year, mainly because we have a little boy who will be fascinated by the lights (the last time we had a tree was 2003). The forest service clears saplings in the hills near our city to prevent overgrowth, and they sell the trees to raise money for forest service projects. The trees are as cute as can be, take about six minutes to put up and take down, and just have a few branches – simple and easy.
We went to a beautiful park last week and my brother took pictures of our family for our Christmas card photo shoot. We ended up with some really great shots, and will be picking one to get printed on photo greeting cards. I saw a sign at Costco last week advertising 50 photo greeting cards for six dollars. So we will be all over that.
I make Christmas ornaments for our nieces every year. This year, I’m planning to use a beautiful piece of fabric that I bought ten years ago in Tanzania to make cloth ornaments. The fabric has been sitting in my closet all these years, and it will make great ornaments (I’ll post pics once I get them done – for now the pictures are only in my head). I even found a bag of fiberfill stuffing at the thrift store for 25 cents, so I have everything I need to make the ornaments.
My family stopped exchanging Christmas presents years ago, once all of the kids were grown. My parents are of the view (and I agree) that Christmas and the presents that go along with it are for children. They gave us gifts when we were young, but stopped when I was in college. My younger siblings were still living at home, but my parents switched to a tradition of taking them on a trip for Christmas rather than buying gifts. Now that we’re all adults, we just get together for food and fun, which will involve lots of playing with our son this year. We’re hosting Christmas dinner for my family at our house – there will be lots of food, but no gifts.
My girlfriends and I stopped exchanging gifts a few years ago. We’re all adults, we’re all able to buy things that we need, and we all consider getting together for a meal, or a good long phone conversation to be far superior to additional possessions.
My mother in law loves Christmas and always gets us lots of gifts. But she’s also very easy to please, and she loves simple gifts that involve photos of her grandkids. With the hundreds of photos we have of our son, and my somewhat crafty nature, I’m sure I’ll be able to come up with something perfect.
We won’t be doing much in the way of gifts for our son. He’s too young to understand the whole thing anyway, and is just as happy with a wooden spoon as he would be with a fancy toy. We might get him something from the thrift store, but we might not. As I said, we keep Christmas pretty low key around here. We’re not religious, so really it’s just like any other day. If we end up finding more nifty stuff at the thrift store, we’ll probably just give it to him right away, rather than waiting for Christmas.
I’ll bake several batches of muffins and deliver them to some neighbors and my friends at the library. I’ll also give some to the men who collect our garbage and recycling, and the people who deliver our produce and mail.
That’s pretty much it. Homemade gifts in the form of ornaments and muffins are very inexpensive and fun to make. Whatever I end up doing for my mother in law will be fun too. We will be spending some money on food for Christmas dinner, but everyone will bring a side dish, so whatever we end spending won’t be a budget buster.
Since we keep everything pretty simple around the holidays, we can relax and enjoy the season. To be honest, the part I’m most looking forward to is dinner with my family, and going for walks in the evenings with my husband and son, all bundled up against the cold. I can already imagine the look on our son’s face when he sees Christmas lights all over the houses. I guarantee he’ll enjoy that just as much as he would if we spent half a day in Toys R Us buying stuff for him. And going for walks is free.