General ramblings

A little word about Christmas…

November 26, 2012

Martin Lewis recently wrote an article in The Telegraph (I found the link on Twitter, just in case you think I’m cheating and buying newspaper..!) entitled “It’s time to ban Christmas presents”.

If you haven’t read it, then do. It makes some very good points, far more articulately than I will!

It kind of encapsulates what I have been thinking about Christmas this year, and for the past couple of years actually.

We are obviously making or thrifting all our presents this year. And I’m not suggesting that you must do the same, or that Christmas is cancelled, and we all have to sit around feeling miserable and guilty about buying presents.

But maybe just thinking a bit more about what you buy, and how much you buy. And maybe even making some presents yourself, or sourcing them secondhand.

Before you say you could never make anything, I don’t think it really matters if what you have made looks a but ‘rustic’-if you have put valuable time (and in today’s time poor society, maybe that is the most precious commodity of all) and effort into making someone a present, it really is the thought that counts. I will have lots of suggestions and how-to’s coming up over the next few weeks, so no excuses!

But for me, Christmas should be about spending time together as a family. And I think that by making or thrifting our presents this year, it is making us think a bit more about what friends and family might actually want. If you are going to spend the time and effort to make a gift, you want to be fairly sure the recipient is going to like it!

My family keep asking me what I want for Christmas, and I am really struggling with this. I could quite easily write a reasonably long list of all the things I want, and haven’t been able to buy new (boots being a case in point!) for other people to go out and get me. But that kind of defeats the point. I have a lot of books that I would really like, but when I know that I can probably source them secondhand, it seems kind of wrong to ask someone else to buy me it, when I know they will buy new.

So I haven’t written a list, and I haven’t asked for anything.This may be the wrong approach, as everyone seems to feel compelled to give something, so I may end up with a whole load of stuff I don’t want, but we’ll see!

My mum is not well, and my brother and his wife are having a tough time at the moment, so this Christmas, all I really want is some time together as a family, arguing, bickering and eating far too much food!

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13 Comments

  • Reply Vivienne Downes November 7, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    To quote Jo in Little Women “Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents” but she learns the lesson that giving is more full filling than receiving. I try to stick to certain guide lines when buying gifts 1st must be within my budget, 2nd no plastic, 3rd must be useful … But homemade would be the ultimate if only time was on my side !

    • Reply Jen November 8, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      It is hard Vivienne, but sounds like you are doing a great job!

  • Reply Heather Barber November 7, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    For the last 10+ years we have only bought a token present for the adults – mug, keyring etc for a few pounds and everything else has gone to charity – Send a Cow/Oxfam/Mary’s Meals being the ones we have supported over the years. We all have too much ‘stuff’ so we don’t need any more!
    I have either made things or bought from other small businesses so you know exactly where the money is going. My children have always made presents for their aunts and uncles with certain rules – edible, useful or Christmas decorations.

    • Reply Jen November 7, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      That all sounds great, and very sensible Heather!

  • Reply The Goose is Getting Fat…. | My Make Do and Mend Year November 22, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    […] so the list is not too long, and I hate the whole thing of giving for the sake of giving (I blogged about it last year), but this is the minimum I can get away with! Hubby-I have literally NO idea what to do […]

  • Reply So what did Santa bring..? « My Make Do and Mend Year December 28, 2012 at 7:21 am

    […] did get a few other bits and pieces that were brand new. As I said in my pre-Christmas ‘rant’, I didn’t write a list, as I felt it was rather against the spirit of the year to write a […]

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  • Reply jhwilliams70 November 26, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Christmas shouldn’t be a time of stress and panic. It should be about time at home and not a moment that dissipates when you get your January credit card bill;. Luckily I can make and do crafty things but charity shops or handmade things are a great way to bring a smile.

    • Reply Jen November 26, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      You are so right 🙂

  • Reply vivjm November 26, 2012 at 9:36 am

    I think the Martin Lewis article is great & through it being quite mainstream, I have been able to negotiate that in our family, the adults won’t buy each other anything this year. Amongst a close group of friends, we have agreed that what we give will be limited to either handmade, or from charity shops (with a maximum £5 spend) The main vibe amongst most people seems to have been relief. Often I think, everyone feels it’s a good idea but is frightened to be the one to suggest it in case they’re seen as just being scrooges. So the more articles like this, and posts like yours, the better.

    • Reply Jen November 26, 2012 at 1:16 pm

      Fab! What a great idea. Broaching the subject is always tough, and I think you are right that nobody wants to be the instigator but that a lot of people would really rather not do the present thing, especially for distant relatives!

  • Reply Alice November 26, 2012 at 8:38 am

    We don’t you find something nice to do as a family instead of presents? It would defeat the point of your ‘buy nothing’ year. Or you could all put a nominal amount in (say £10) and buy a couple of goats for African families with Oxfam. Trust me you will feel a lot better about helping someone less fortunate than you.

    Really enjoying the blog by the way. I bet you could find some good boots in a charity. I found some lovely nearly brand new brown boots in a charity shop for £7.50. I’ve been wearing them all year!!

    • Reply Jen November 26, 2012 at 1:20 pm

      Hi Alice. A family day out is a great idea instead of presents. And the Oxfam idea is a good one-we have done this as a wedding present before. I’m not trying to buy nothing, just buy nothing new, so we are still going to do presents, but ‘less is more’ is definitely going to be our motto I think!
      I did find some boots in a charity shop-in great condition and in my size, but when I wore them outside they were an unfotunate wierd purpley colour! So I need to try and dye them a nice colour!!
      Glad you are enjoying the blog!

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