Week 51: Christmas

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We managed to avoid the shops completely this Christmas, with nothing to buy there was no reason for us to be anywhere near them… despite the fact that a 24 hour department store opened less than a kilometer from our current house sit, causing an absurd amount of excitement within our local community. We went small for christmas, handmade jars of pickles and gingerbread and chocolates, little bottles of fermented water kefir, soft and colourful dinosaur tails for the kids… small, simple and no need to visit a store.

I watched from afar the widespread rush of consumerism during the lead up to Christmas with equal dismay and curiosity. I watched people use social media to prompt their loved ones on gift ideas and solutions to the ever growing concern about ‘what am I going to get for Christmas?’ I watched as people posted photos of the towering piles of presents set up under the tree from Santa on Christmas eve. I wondered where they put all that loot in their homes…

I looked at Bo’s little pile of regifted and thrifted Santa gifts and wondered if she was missing out… a book about fairies (the only thing she asked for this year), a found wizard hat, a jar of shells from the beach and a little tin of blueberries and mini gingerbreads… and I knew she wasn’t, she was of course totally overwhelmed by all that on christmas day… When I asked her on Christmas eve what she thought Christmas was all about, she replied, ‘it’s about being with friends mama, and holding hands, and singing…’ and I realised that we have somehow managed to keep her protected from the need to consume; for now at least.

Christmas day was a simple affair of little gifts. Even my mother got into the spirit of regifting and gave me her old sewing machine as my christmas gift (which was a wonderful surprise, because I borrow it often enough, it’s nice to call it mine). The rest of our day was a long lazy lunch with friends and their kids… nothing fancy, just good friends who didn’t necessarily have anywhere else to be, came together, to eat and drink and swim and laugh… and it was perfect.

Besides accidentally cutting off the top of my finger with a mandolin during christmas prep on christmas eve and spending a few unplanned hours at the clinic… Christmas went off with no stress. No drama. No debt.

Now that’s a happy Christmas.

I hope yours was exactly what YOU were hoping for, too. x

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  • December 30, 2014 - 7:47 am

    Rachel - Although I bought presents, some of them far from ethical, I was at least happy to only give things that I knew were going to be used. I worked hard trying to make sure that there were no filler presents, no need for the pile of gifts to be exciting in magnitude. My one son got a single gift from me and the two year old got two regifted trucks. And it felt so much better than the years when I bought things that my kids had asked for the in the frantic fever of the season.
    Thanks for the constant inspiration. I sometimes feel a level of guilt because I don’t commit the way you do, but at least you remind me it’s okay to make small steps. They are better than no steps.ReplyCancel

    • December 30, 2014 - 12:34 pm

      Sash - Man, any little step matters. Doing it all is actually not really sustainable long term. I think what yuo said is exactly right – buying things that you know will actually get used… I think that’s key. It’s not necessarily about going without somethign you (or your kids) would love… but about asking your questions ‘what will it do for our lives, what will it cost (boht small and big picture),’ then if you still want to buy it.. go for it! ๐Ÿ˜‰ love the regifted trucks and I bet the two year old did too!! xxReplyCancel

  • December 30, 2014 - 7:48 am

    Cassie || Nourish Me Up - Your Christmas sounds great (minus the finger cutting!). Ours was similar – we committed to a “Thrifted, handmade, homemade” christmas this year. And it was fairly easy – I have 3 kids (5,6 & 7) and they were all more than happy with their gifts they received & gave. I enjoyed the challenge too of seeking the gifts and did not miss the chaos of the big stores ๐Ÿ™‚ReplyCancel

    • December 30, 2014 - 12:31 pm

      Sash - Such a lovely way to do it! I can’t wait to teach Bo this kind of gift giving when she’s old enough to give her own gifts ๐Ÿ™‚ such a lovely thing to teach kids I think!ReplyCancel

  • December 30, 2014 - 9:11 am

    Emma - Very inspiring Sash. We cut down a lot this year and planning to continue the trend into next year and next Christmas. Saved a lot of time, money and unnecessary stress already.ReplyCancel

    • December 30, 2014 - 12:31 pm

      Sash - That’s so great Emma! Life is so much simpler (and happier) without unnecessary debt and stress! xReplyCancel

  • December 30, 2014 - 8:08 pm

    Joanne P - Sash, your Christmas sounds like one I dream of.
    I am a Kiwi in my 40s living in London, and as my family live in New Zealand I spent my Christmas and a few days thereafter here with a friend and her family. In her house the extravagance, overspending, consumerism and competitiveness in both the presents purchased and food bought were so showoffy that I was uncomfortable being a part of it. Gifts piled so high the likes of which I have never seen before (the clothing and other castoffs I found in the bin after Christmas Day because the new items replaced old were uncomprehensible), and the amounts of food that could not possibly ever get eaten (leftovers and some uneaten perishables to my horror were thrown away).
    I came home feeling saddened by it all. I wish more people thought the way we do.
    Congratulations too by the way Sash on completing your year of “Nothing New” – it has been a pleasure to read your journey from afar.
    All the best for a fabulous “2015”.
    Kind Regards,

  • December 31, 2014 - 3:40 pm

    Helen - Your Christmas sounds awesome. We are slowly opting out of the ‘consumerist’ Christmas, with one side of the family no longer exchanging gifts and with the other side of the family participating in a modest Secret Santa. I would like to think that I can influence that side of the family to either scrap Secret Santa or at least change the focus from store bought gifts to handmade or consumables… but I think I have some work ahead of me there. Anywho, 2015 is the year I am going to make some small and sustainable changes to the way my partner and I consume, and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can achieve! I’ve really enjoyed following your journey. All the best for 2015.ReplyCancel

  • January 1, 2015 - 3:15 pm

    Jade - Hi sash , I’ve loved following your blog this year. Thank you for writing ReplyCancel

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