The No-Dollar Christmas

We’re doing something different this Christmas, inspired in part by a tight budget, but also but a desire to take our experience of Christmas into our own hands and out of the whole go-to-store/buy-gift/give-gift and get-gift formula. It’s an antidote to the state of the economy, but more than that, it’s a productive way to deal with our freaked out state of mind over the economy! Aside from spending money on a real tree for the corner of the living room and on ingredients for cookies for family, friends and neighbors - this will be the Christmas that we spend barely any money and still find ourselves soaking in a feeling of plenty and abundance. Here’s the deal. We’ll only be giving each other gifts that we:

  • make,
  • find,
  • or somehow already have.

It’s the perfect opportunity to take all this crap, er -- stuff that we already HAVE and turn it into something. For instance, why do I have TWO whole large plastic crates in my closet full of picture frames of every conceivable shape, size and color known to man? My prolific daughter can do something with the profusion of fantastic art she turns out on an hourly basis and fill up the frames. I can dredge up all those lovely pictures of the girls and fill up the frames.

OR we can tackle the stash of luxurious fabrics, all folded away on the family room shelves. Instead of waiting for the day when one of us finally turns into a seamstress impresario, we can just jump in now and see what our little brains come up with. Lavender pillows? Nifty, customized stowaways for art supplies? Decorated houses for the pet rats (they’re much cuter and cuddlier than they sound, believe me)?

And if we find something cool out there in the world or hanging in our closet or sitting on our bookshelves that seems like the perfect thing, great! Sure, maybe we’ve moved beyond the enormous collections of “crystals” the youngest one would find on the playground for me, but you know never know what you might find out there, right?

I love the idea of having to think a little harder to make things for each other that would fit perfectly. That would delight, surprise or amaze…. We have the same tasks when we’re out there in the Land of Shopping, but you’ve also got this little secret mental tally that’s getting racked up with each purchase, an unwanted shopping companion of anxiety. I like this idea so much better! So we’ve all taken up the challenge: how full can we make “under the tree” - while spending nothing, or close to it?

We already have a shitload of Christmas decorations up in the attic and this is a chance to cull through those things too, keeping only what we truly love.

I look forward to making our house feel warm, festive and alive with creativity. And what might we each open up on Christmas morning?!

What are your plans for Christmas?

© 2008 Jennifer Newcomb Marine     All Rights Reserved

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