spending strike update

Many of you have requested an update on our December spending strike.  We have stuck to our guns and not bought any nonsense stocking stuffers or filler gifts.   That being said, I have fond memories of opening my stocking in the dark hours of the morning and pulling out little things to keep my hands busy and sweet tooth happy which always  eased the pain of this only child and slow rising parents.  I think our solution will be to hold off on the stockings until they are at more of an age to appreciate it and they can be stuffed with thrifted and or handmade trinkets and goodies, but I may come up with something clever between now and Christmas morn.

As you all know, this website is my Christmas gift from Mike, yet he still insists on me having something to actually open on Christmas morning.  It was meant to be a surprise, but a website is a pretty personal thing so I tell him it was the right thing to do to tell me.  In an effort to keep him from buying senseless  gifts for me out of guilt we’ve been perusing Pinterest for clever DIY projects, pinning and emailing.

We have not stepped foot in a mall once and it is liberating to be free of buying the expensive filler gifts like chocolates, and gift baskets.  Instead we plan on baking some favourite treats and packing them up for those surprise gift givers and filling gaps with homemade items from my craft show arsenal.  We are allowing ourselves to buy supplies for these DIY gifts, but only after making sure there are no alternatives hiding in the basement or sheds {you’d be surprised how creative you get when you want to make something, but don’t want to drive anywhere or add another receipt to our money jars}.

Every Christmas, we realize more and more that the magic isn’t in the gifts, but within the landscape of our memories.   As carefully and handpicked as each gift is and as much as we hope the gifts we do give will be cherished for many years, they won’t remember how many gifts they got or who gave them what.  But they will remember the time spent with family decorating gingerbread houses, and playing in the snow, and the smell of rosemary and garlic, and the heat of the fire, and the cookies and milk left for Santa, and the Solstice feast spent with friends.  Our greatest hope is that it will all blend into a warm muddle of homemade sweetness in their hearts and bellies and stay there for a lifetime.

 

Now, without giving too much away, I will share some of the ideas in the handmade gift queue.

go gently + be merry
e.
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8 Comments

  1. Posted December 13, 2011 at 1:19 pm by Stephanie K. | Permalink

    THANK YOU. I’ve been vascillating between simple Christmas, and getting sucked into memories of my own childhood where we had LOTS under the tree. I’m knitting mermaids and a Mexican wrestler for my kids, and thanks to the links you’ve shared, I think I’ll have to make the 52 Things gift for my hubby. Wonderful!

  2. Posted December 13, 2011 at 2:48 pm by Emily HK | Permalink

    Thanks for the update!
    I’m in the same boat when it comes to stockings — I have very fond memories of opening stockings, but the adult me is appalled by all the throwaway stuff we got in them… maybe when the kids a wee bit older (and I have knit some stockings for the family!) This year is certainly an exercise in frugality.

  3. Posted December 13, 2011 at 6:22 pm by Stacey | Permalink

    My partner and I have only bought gifts for one another the first year we were together.
    We save the money and buy staples for our local no kill shelter.
    I usually never know what I want for christmas it’s usually a last minute thought that I never use.

  4. Posted December 13, 2011 at 10:52 pm by Ana | Permalink

    I always remember vividly this part in Little House of the Prairie where they open their stockings on Christmas morning and inside are such very simple things – an orange, a penny, a peppermint stick. But of course, to them, these things were incredibly rare and special and exciting. I was a little sad, even reading it as a kid, that we no longer experienced such elation at such little things because we had so much. (I’ve managed to recapture a little bit of that by only eating fruit when its in season – strawberries seem like magical jewels when you can only eat them for a few short weeks in June!)

    • Posted December 14, 2011 at 8:13 am by erin | Permalink

      This is really beautiful Ana! I have been doing something like this as they would likely flip over an orange or peppermint stick…perhaps some small felted dolls…
      Thanks so much
      E.

  5. Posted December 20, 2011 at 10:00 am by Pigeon's Mom | Permalink

    What a lovely blog! This post rings trie, esp the ending paragraphs. We just had an early Christmas celebration in our new house with our new and only baby boy…We couldn’t have cared less about the gifts and I found myself just missing my big family and all of the traditions my mother has kept up for us over the years…her homemade cardamom braids and cheese souffle on Christmas morning, a giant extended-family Christmas party on the 23rd, the pile of old Christmas movies she takes out to watch together each year, etc etc. I hope I can create those kinds of memories and keep them going for my own family…because you’re so right; the gifts will be the last thing my little boy remembers!

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