Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Keeping a low profile for the Christmas season

Its that time of year where going anywhere near town is going to fill you with Christmas Spirit, bags of packaging and a variety of useless presents.
I have an aunt who each year for the fun of it, used to ask for useless presents. Indeed most years she got exactly that, but then again that was in the seventies.
What can you do to reduce the stress of planning Christmas :

Stay away from the shopping centres at least until January 2007
Staying away will mean you won’t use fuel to get there.
Do not purchase electrical items or toys with batteries.
Give clothing, food or money.
Be creative and make some food presents from scratch

What is in store here at downshifting path. My Dh has a little notebook in which he writes the things I come up with during the year, such as, little gadgets for my knitting, spinning, gardening and homekeeping. He on the other hand leaves me a list of what clothes he needs and is known to want only practical, useful things such as trousers, slippers, shirts etc. You might think this is unimaginative but it is practical. He gets what he wants and his wardrobe needs are satisfied at least twice yearly as he has a summer birthday. My list also includes books ( you might have guessed), yarn, plants and seeds and a sewing basket this year.
Its more difficult for friends and relatives, as they may not subscribe to our less is more lifestyle, and yet again, they will receive some of the items that they love or loath ( you never know) but I have never met anyone who has said yuck to any of the food presents I have given.

here are some of my favourite food baskets to make up this season:

❑ A family film bucket which either includes a DVD or a voucher to go to the movies, popcorn, sweeties, chocolate and a small booklet on the best 100 movies to watch.

❑ Toasted Tootsies, The mulled cider basket which contains two pottery mugs, a gallon of cider, the recipe and spices to make the mulled cider and includes 2 pairs of handmade socks to enable the couple to go for a long walk. It also contains a book on ghost stories to read on dark dark nights near the fire.

❑ Bread basket - encourage someone to make a loaf of bread, includes a large mixing bowl, your recipe for easy to make loaf, loaf tin, yeast, flour, apron and oven gloves.....wrap in remaining square of fabric which can act as a table cloth or table runner.

❑ Afternoon tea - small shopping basket lined with floral fabric which will make a small tablecloth, with recipe and ingredients for scones, scone cutter, 2 jars of home made jam, packet of tea.....you can add a small book on the history of tea or afternoon tea etc etc.

❑ Bake someone a fruitcake and put it in a lovely gift tin, with the recipe attached, if they like it it may encourage them to make it next year. ( You might get the tin back...could become a party tick, pass the cake)

❑ Theatre tickets, booked from one couple to another with a program which makes a night out, if they have children, you could give 2 tickets and offer to babysit for the evening.
❑ Notecards, pen and stamps for an older person who likes to stay in touch with friends.
❑ The chocolate lovers box, a variety of all things chocolate from hot chocolate, to bars of chocolate, a truly indulgent pressie.

Hopefully this will inspire you to go out there, buy simple ingredients and make up your own individual gift baskets and save a packet, some money out of your wallet and create more relationships than junk.


lizzie said...

When my children were little we went to town for the day around Xmas just to enjoy the decorations and the brass bands and have tea out etc. We never did any
shopping on these occasions.Food is a great idea also gift cards come in very handy. Almost everywhere does them now for almost any kind of service. I find gift baskets are alot of work (ie shopping) and quite expensive
sometimes. My sons give me gourmet coffee, wine and fruit that is delivered every month - things I would never buy for myself. Love your blog.

Urban girl said...

Some really good ideas. Other things I'd suggest include:

* "all you need is cheese" set with a cheese board, crackers and wine
* something for their hobby (gardening, knitting, scrapbooking, cooking)
* a gift that will have everyday use rather than something that is used once and put away, *or* a gift that is useful and will be used up (e.g. a favourite tea , chocolate, bath bomb)
* something the recipient actually wants, rather than giving them something for the sake of it