Saturday, November 24, 2012

Christmas is coming

     Sooner than we even want to think it, a year has passed and the rush to acquire gifts for giving is upon us again.  With four boys and limited income, I have been in the habit of shopping year round for the ‘perfect’ thoughtful gift for each one, then later came the spouses and children and the year is barely long enough to find the gifts and then we have birthdays.  YIKES! 
     I only have one son who has asked for #10 cans of butter beads or dehydrated milk.  He is an actual doomsday prepper.  One of them has hinted he could use a dehydrator.  One hints about bows and arrows and one is in the early childhood development of his family.  He needs a nap!  
     I would not suggest buying a generator for a family member who thinks the world will go on as is, forever.   You know your family, their likes and dislikes.  If they are in to the prepping life, it is easy to catalog shop for the special occasion and pay a bit here and there.  If they are not, there are several ways to approach downsizing the gift issue. 
    The best suggestion is, talk about the economy far in advance of the occasion and tell your loved ones you are simplifying your life and not willing to go into credit debt for the holidays.  Suggest a new kind of gift swap.  We like the theme we call Make It, Take it or Bake it!  Gifts must be made by hand, or taken from that closet where unused gifts go to die, or baked from scratch.  
     Another theme we like is Thrift and Gift.  All gifts must be purchased at a charity thrift shop, a yard sale or re-gifted.  Some of the fun is in the challenge when you put a ten or fifteen dollar cap on the purchase. 
     Did you notice the re-gift is worked into both themes?  One year, someone gave me a fog machine.  Seriously, someone thought the woman who owns every craft supply available at Michael’s or Jo-Ann’s ETC. needed a fog machine in a frosted glass bowl with little LED lights.  I loved it!  But, I didn't have any place to put it!  I still had the fog machine four Christmases later.  Finally, this year I was able to gift it to a son who was doing a special thing for Halloween.  These things happen even in the closest of families!  You may have something once given to you that would be truly appreciated by someone who can use it.
     My theory is, if someone has a lot of something or collects something, they want more of the same thing.  One son likes Wedgwood.  Yard sales are my main source for high end purchases.  The economy has allowed me to afford Tiffany silver jewelry, authentic military olive drab poncho and liner, tools, Wedgwood, fur collars, 2 dehydrators, lots of costume jewelry and much more.  It matters little that these things are not in the original box as long as they are in mint or like new condition.  This resale shopping allows me to squeeze the life out of a dollar.  It also gives me the thrill of the hunt where no blood is let!  
      If I am giving a gift of jewelry or Wedgwood that is not in a box, I make one.  A simple to assemble decoupaged box is like giving a gift in a gift.  I also make extracts and perfume.  I can't wait to get my Christmas box of homemade cookies from the professional baker in the group!  It's great fun waiting to see what the others can produce.  The dinner and gift exchange is a riot of laughter and good cheer.  Try it this year and enjoy the new year without the fear of credit card bills.

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