Pls help me plan a less commercial Christmas next year

(12 Posts)

I am sick of the landfill tat and the pointless exchange of vouchers or money, sick of feeling complicit in a huge advertising-led consumer lie. Kicking myself because I felt the same way this time last year and never got off my arse. Anyone else feel like this? Anyone already done it? What can we do next year instead, what can we tell people, how do I get DH and kids to go along with it?

Already gave up Christmas cards. Banned toy gifts one year when they were all v little. It's a bit tricky to do whole-familyish things as youngest (5) is autistic and v challenging (may be why I am so fed up - sour grapes!)
Any ideas/experiences gratefully received.

duchesse Wed 11-Dec-13 00:27:31

You could agree to a recycled Christmas, where you regift something you own to someone else who would really like it, or agree only to buy second-hand things. We did that one year- I got a series of books I really wanted and spent the rest of Christmas reading them. Youngest won't realise his/her present is 2nd hand will they? 5 yo don't usually bother about such things.

Also you could go and help out at local homeless shelter for a few hours on Xmas day, or welcome a lonely older person to your house for the day. There are schemes for those.

duchesse Wed 11-Dec-13 00:29:20

The other thing I'm doing this year is ONLY getting books as presents. The children are not getting any big things.

I'm refusing to buy a turkey- we're going to have duck.

I have Bah-humbug tendencies, can you tell? grin

duchesse Wed 11-Dec-13 00:30:49

Or handmade Christmas- that's lovely. The present is the time and effort it takes to make each present rather than the present itself (although obviously if it's a good present as well, it's win-win). You do have to make sure everyone's on board with that one from early in the year!

Droflove Sat 29-Mar-14 09:10:56

I would let the kids enjoy the variety of gifts like other kids get without worrying too much. But no harm in letting people know if you have too many toys already the it would be best to get them books/clothing items/particular toys they love so that the things they do get are loved, appreciated and used. For food I would try and source local products and be really prepared weeks in advance making all the cranberry sauce, bread sauce, marinades, etc. so that you don't end up buying any store bought crap at the last minute. Same with Turkey, spend some time to find an actual direct seller of free range either turkey, goose or duck, you can enjoy it more knowing it came from a good source. Have a day at the beginning of December making decorations, save all your old cards to cut the pics off and use as name tags. Make homemade gifts for others, hampers containing jams, fudge, chutneys etc. or maybe even contact close family in advance and tell them you are gifting them their cranberry sauce, brandy butter and bread sauce, maybe Christmas pudding to them as their gift on Christmas Eve so that you can bulk make along with your own and they then don't have the hassle of organising it for the day. I think I would love that gift! Save wrapping paper to make decorations next year. Decorate your house using holly from hedges if in the countryside.

curiousuze Tue 20-May-14 12:06:23

I am going to try to have an Amazon-free Christmas and mostly give gifts I have physically chosen, paid for and carried home! Otherwise it's too easy to get carried away.

An idea I read about which I will try when DS is older (so who knows if it's even practical!), is the Want, Need, Wear, Read gift list. Kids choose:

Something they want
Something they need
Something to wear
Something to read

It helps focus kids a bit and stops them getting overwhelmed by being able to ask for anything and everything.

When we were kids our stockings were almost all edibles as well. So we'd have an apple, a tangerine, chocolate coins, some other fun chocolate christmas things (little santas etc), and then a pound coin, and maybe a couple of other bits like socks or pens and pencils.

Also planning this year to use Green Metropolis for books to give as presents, or the Oxfam bookshop in our high street, which also has music. No one in my family would bat an eyelid at being given a second hand book or record as a gift.

EauRouge Tue 20-May-14 14:36:28

I buy a lot of presents for the DDs from charity shops. They love charity shops and view them as some sort of Aladdin's cave of tat so they don't mind second-hand at all. I got lots of books for them last year. Try setting a limit for the number of presents and/or amount of money. DH and I aren't going to bother with presents for each other any more.

Parents, siblings, cousins etc all get homemade presents. Usually chutney made out of whatever garden veg I end up with too much of. Mincemeat is dead easy to make too and makes a great present- and you make it in October so by the time December comes you can sit and be smug about not having to run around the shops like a blue-arsed fly.

layla888 Wed 23-Jul-14 12:48:20

Oh god I feel the same way. Every year my mil gets the boys just pure crap like pound shop toys that last an hour and im not sure they are really that safe. Or massive plastic toys that our small flat can't store. Ever since I married my husband my gidt buying list has got out of control. Were not overly close with his family but the 1st Christmas we were married I only got gifts for his mum step dad and hia brother and mil made it clear that his 3 auntys, uncle, nan, cousin and cousins son were probably expecting gifts as well. The thing is where does it stop? We never see these ppl and I just think it gets too much!

Present ideas
I got a £10 photo shoot from groupon and it came with 3 free prints of the best photo and the digital file so u can print it again and again. So my two boy's did the shoot and we just printed the photo off for a few family members and tkmax have lovely silver plated frames for £10 ish so put them in that and thats a really nice gift for around £13 ish a gift.

This year I am considering charity donations in people's names. I often regift pressies also so that saves a lot of time and money. Also if ur seeing ppl after Christmas day boots reduce all their gifts boxing day that always saves a small fortune. I went to my local garden centre yesterday and they had reduced yankee candles and loads of nice little gift things for under £5 is it worth looking in ur local one?

I want to do a xmas challenge this year like set a budget etc does anyone know if there's any threads started yet?

Juno213 Wed 27-Aug-14 05:38:46

We try and di gimme made Christmas'. It doesn't work out cheaper but you have to put more thought I'm to it. We usually do hampers our liquors like slow gin for friends and family. I make jams and chutneys throughout the year, or home made biscuits for cheese. My lo is only 2 so he's easy. My Dh made him building blocks last year, I made a play tent. I made my husband cufflinks and he made me a beautiful table for the hallway. A also do take presents from the charity shop

Givemecaffeine21 Fri 26-Sep-14 14:07:34

I've got a huge family, lots of siblings, so a few years ago we went handmade only, and now we've stopped doing gifts for adults altogether and just buy for our own children. For DH's family we always do handmade. We go small and donate to charity though, and enclose a leaflet telling people who you've donated to. A few ideas from handmade are:

Cook a meal and freeze it in portions - something special - so one year my SIL did reindeer stew (it was venison) with braised red cabbage and star shaped dumplings. We were really happy when we got to the 'I just want a proper meal and no more leftovers' stage of Christmas/New Year and didn't have to cook!

Homemade truffles / mince pie / fancy bits and pieces / mini Xmas cakes

Small handmade things or things you can buy in bulk but easily divided - for example TX Maxx always has lovely things to put in hampers and some of them are say 3 tins together of something, so one tin per hamper.

You could do little kits to - say a bottle of red wine, some mulled wine spices and a couple of glasses.

We've done glass painting in the past.

You could frame a lovely photo for grandparents and gift that.

Less is more!

Also make Christmas Day fun - play some silly games (no board games!). That way it isn't about the presents alone.

Methenyouplus4 Tue 28-Oct-14 16:13:22

Our DC get pretty much all second hand. Last year, they got vouchers for one activity per month which was great, did things like crazy golf, cinema, BBQ etc. Each voucher was blank with just the month on so it allowed us to decide on things as the year went on as they came up (e.g. theatre production in the park).

bitterandtwisted349 Wed 04-Mar-15 23:13:35

I so agree and feel the same about birthdays in particular childrens parties - last year I saw the worse pile of cr@p I have ever seen for a 5 yr old and sadly over 50% ended up binned which isnt acceptable.

I insist the children get clothes/coats practical things while we get the main toys. As long as the children get a few really good gifts that they want or we feel are good then thats fine.

If they want to get child gifts then I ask them to get DVD/jigsaw. Quality colouring pen and pencils are always a hit.

I also agree about secondhand. Bought fantastic gifts - happyland, bikes, clothes etc.

I couldnt imagine christmas without gifts, I wouldnt buy relatives gifts from 2nd hand shops either I would rather buy a voucher for afternoon tea or make something. Having seen 2nd hand tat being handed over including a bag of golf balls, a used novel thats been on the recipients shelf for years or a set of used magazines its not pleasant.

I think when a gift is given its lovely to think much thought has gone into it whether its purchased or made.

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