Monday, November 24, 2008

Christmas - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I don't know about everyone else, but we have a lot of STUFF here. Which is, of course, why I origianlly posted the Christmas question to those moms. I found these ideas to be extra creative in regard to that problem.

Here are some excellent 'no clutter' gift ideas.

o Food items are good (my kids love to get their own box of cereal or other treats that we don't frequently buy wrapped under the tree).
o For birthdays this year we've given all the kids season passes to Lagoon. So, a membership to somewhere is a good gift.
o One year I gave my husband a weekend away together as a gift. We went and stayed in a hotel one night, went to dinner, had tons and tons of time to talk uninterrupted. it was great.
o Last year for my husband's birthday, I bought us tickets to see a comedian that he really likes. It was a lot of fun for us. There are so many live shows, kids concerts, etc, around that you could find something like that for everyone in your family. For teens, movie passes are always appreciated.
o A magazine subscription isn't bad because you can then donate the magazine to your drs or dentist's office after you've read it (remove your address label.)
o Some people suggest service coupons (ie: I'll clean your room for you..., etc), but I find that no one uses them. I'd prefer to actually do some secret services throughout the month and then put an anonymous note under the tree saying your Secret Santa did all these things for you in the month of December!
o Last year for Christmas we gave our kids 6 months of video game rental at Hollywood video. They have a program where you can have one (or two)game out at a time for however long you want. The kids love it because they can try all the games they want for the same price. Hollywood also has an MVP program for movie rentals where you can have 3 movies out at a time and kids like that one as well.


More great no clutter gifts - annual passes to zoo, museums, etc.


We've all heard of regifting, but this family takes the cake.

How old are your kids? When my daughter was very young we would sometimes wrap up toys she already had but that she hadn't played with for a long time or that we maybe put away in storage and forgot about. It was nice to know that we could cycle her toys this way.

As she got older and more aware of things we ended up doing something different. One year my husband lost his job in the fall just before Christmas and I knew I wasn't going to have any extra money for Christmas so I told my daughter that we were going to pretend that our home was a shopping store and we were going to go shopping for Christmas! She had a lot of fun with this. We completely played the role and she and I walked from room to room shopping for presents to wrap and put under the tree. When she was shopping with me we were looking for things for dad, and then she would have another day where she shopped with dad and would shop for me. Dad and I also would shop for each other and also for her. She had a lot of fun doing this. We ended up wrapping things that we use every day and also things we haven't used in awhile. It was funny because we ended up wrapping dads watch so we could give him a
watch for Christmas and he didn't even realize it was missing, LOL. We also wrapped his wallet! It was fun. We wrapped things like a pair of socks, pair of jeans, shoes, food in the house like a jar of peanut butter, can of beans and so on. We got pretty creative.

Over the years this is a tradition we ended up keeping. Even on years when we have had plenty of money to spend, we would still do the "shop around the house" thing. I have tried to keep Christmas a low key thing when we buy gifts so we only get a few new gifts each year instead of a huge pile of gifts, but if you ever come to our house on Christmas Eve it will look like we have spent a fortune because there will be a ton of presents wrapped under the tree. The thing many wouldn't know is that over half of those presents are things we already owned.


What a fun tradition! Started out as a way to have things under the tree, and probably something that will carry on for years to come as just fun.

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