Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's Christmas time!

It's that time of year again: lights are going up on houses, the bell ringers are out, and half the cars on the road have trees strapped to the top. Hard to believe, but Christmas is in only 17 days! (A friend of mine has a great post for those of you who are upset by that fact.)

Our Charlie Brown-ish tree:

I feel it is one of my duties to spread the word about alternative Christmas ideas. Last year I talked mostly about wrapping your gifts in anything other than store-bought wrapping paper.

When it comes to gifts there are a lot of creative ideas that show you care about the gift-receiver - and won't break the bank.

If you want to go all out, participate in the Buy Nothing Christmas.

If you have friends or family who "have it all" and don't really need anything, buy a goat or chicken on their behalf. Check out Heifer International or World Vision.

Give experiences instead of stuff: tickets to a show, time spent together at a special place, massage, etc.

Give gift certificates for services you can provide: babysitting, fixing bikes, computer help, sewing, etc.

Try some good old fashioned bartering! Offer your sewing skills in a gift certificate in exchange for someone else's bike fixing skills. Both of you now have a great gift to give someone special.

If you are buying gifts, consider buying from local artists. There are a lot of craft sales this time of year where you can purchase fabulous hats, scarves, artwork, and all sorts of things.

Try your hand at making gifts for your friends and family. Making a gift does not need to be as complicated as learning how to knit and making a matching sweater set! There are many things we can make from simple to complicated, silly to practical.

  • Take a trip to the bulk section and get some ingredients to make some nice granola.

  • Make your own bath salts

  • Make a cookie kit

  • Make chocolate-dipped almonds or Oreos or....

  • Put together your favorite recipes in a little recipe book

  • Bake muffins or cookies or some other goody to give as a gift

I could go on and there are tons of ideas out there. Look for something that inspires you. Here are the links I included last year:

A Do-it-yourself Christmas
How to Make Your Own Christmas Gifts
Home-Made Gifts
Christmas Gifts You Make Yourself

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