Friday, December 25, 2009

Recycling Christmas

The theme is still Christmas... hopefully this will be the last time I post about Christmas. This year - living in two homes in two states - I did not decorate for Christmas. Well, that's not entirely true. At the cabin there is a pinon tree less than five feet from the front deck and on Thanksgiving morning in 20 degree weather (the sun was shining & the wind was NOT blowing for a change) I decorated the lower five feet of the tree while still in my pajamas! My boxes of decorations were at the house in Nebraska - along with my skinny Christmas tree. Even tho' we were at the Nebraska house four days before Christmas I decided I wasn't decorating the tree, hanging lights, getting out Mr. & Mrs. Santa or even hanging a wreath! The house here is completely unadorned for the holiday.

Today we went to WalMart to pick up groceries. Customer service was packed with people returning or exchanging things I can only presume they had either purchased or received for Christmas. Wrong size. Wrong color. What was the person thinking who bought this! I was thankful that I was not in line as I tend to get a bit testy when I'm not "next" in line!

My biggest gripe about Christmas is that SO many have made Christmas about giving and getting gifts... not about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. I know, I know! Giving & getting gifts is not a new development - I just find it distressing when I see how many gifts people buy, the money that is spent, the interest that accumulates on the credit cards. For the past few years Jerry & I have not purchased many Christmas gifts. We have seven kids between us, six of whom have spouses or significant others AND fourteen (14) grandkids - not to mention our siblings & parents! The first year we didn't buy Christmas gifts for them we felt a twinge of guilt - but oh! the money we saved! Our kids are old enough to understand our reasoning & we've always been a family who relishes in the time we get to spend together since there are lots of family gatherings that not everyone can attend due to jobs. Our family gatherings are usually spent eating, playing cards or board games, eating some more, watching football, then eating the leftovers. We don't need gifts when we have the gift of time & fellowship.

We have friends who buy tons of gifts & spend loads of money on those gifts. We visited those friends before Christmas - gifts piled three or four high all around the tree and spilling out into the area that should be reserved for walking! We were also the recipients of their gifting...lovely gifts all of them but there was no need for them to spend the money they did.

Last year our group of friends had a frugal Christmas! We regifted items that we'd received (wrong color / wrong size / what was the person thinking who bought this). It was fun and frugal!! The year before I asked my sister-in-law what she would like for Christmas - listing a few things that I was going to otherwise give to Goodwill - and gave her some things she needed & she was quite happy with them! Our kids have also received such "gifts". Things they can use, things I no longer need - all in good condition just no longer needed!

This Christmas, the best gift I received was simply the feeling that I helped make a difference in someone else's Christmas by helping my church family deliver Christmas gift boxes (food for Christmas dinner) and caroling at area assisted living & nursing homes. I was blessed beyond measure!

So... is this wrong? Am I just being cheap? Or is this possibly something others wished they had the moxie to do? We recycle glass, paper, aluminum cans... why not "recycle" gifts that were not to our liking? Look in the back of your closets, in the attic and basement. See what gifts you've stashed away that are gathering dust. No more Black Friday... no more day after Christmas shopping.

I dare you!


  1. I personally LOVE the idea. Think of the money I would save. This year I spent way to much and as you said it all went on my credit card and guess who will be paying the interest on that? Yup me.

  2. The people who buy on credit cards scare me because I know how easy it is to just make the minimum payment and the interest keeps adding up...and then the interest rate jumps up... and you never get the darned thing paid off! Last year I bought Spencer designer label shirts & pants from thrift stores... a couple still had the store tags on them... and I paid a fraction of the retail cost! I LOVE thrift stores!

  3. Marcy:

    Amen to your ideas. I didn't buy any presents this year and often don't buy any presents at Christmas, nor do I want to receive presents at Christmas. My family (especially mom) thinks this way too--she privileges the spiritual aspect of Christmas and taught me too as well. Both mom and dad and I believe in giving to those who may need a little extra at Christmas rather than buying gifts for the well-off just for the sake of giving a present.

  4. Ang,
    Jerry & I figured that we buy what we want/need the rest of the year - why should others spend their hard-earned money buying us stuff we don't really want/need. And similarly, why should we spend our hard-earned money buying others stuff they don't want/need? I'd rather send a card or email with an update/photos and my good wishes for a Merry Christmas.