For most of the 20 years Chris and I have been together, we have tried to take a more low key approach to Christmas.
In the early years of DINK (Double Income No Kids) we had both the time and money to come up with thoughtful gifts for each other. After a few years we began to notice it getting more difficult…it was almost like every year there were higher expectations, even if they were unspoken!
So in about Year Three of our relationship we made a pact: Limit of $75 and we hit the Eaton Centre in Toronto at 6:00 pm on Christmas Eve! What a hoot! Low expectation and high entertainment value. Some gifts turned out to be very useful (I once bought Chris a Nike bag for his workout clothes; remember this was the early 90s). Some were very durable: Chris bought me a wool ear band that I wear each winter to this day! Somehow it has escaped washing machine (unlike the wool cap I bought Chris, which became Stephen’s baby hat the following summer!) Other gifts included a Crocodile Dundee hat, turtle earrings, a cordless drill, chocolates and a hand written poem, a disposable camera and Ralph Lauren cologne that didn’t get opened until Stephen was two and he dumped it in the toilet!
Since we’ve had children, it became more interesting. In the early days of parenthood (which coincided, unfortunately with the early days of a business) we had to get very creative with presents for the kids. The first few years were easy; boxes and ribbons sufficed. After that we became bargain hunters, although it got even more difficult the year Chris was determined not to buy anything made in China (or anything with batteries). That was an eye opener! It ended with me and three tired toddlers hanging our in McDonalds while Chris methodically finished searching the Toys R Us across the street!
Somehow the kids didn’t notice that the Christmas tree had way more Lego and Lincoln Logs than ever before!
Since deciding to build a sustainable house, and becoming more and more conscious of our impact on the earth (and pocketbook!) Chris and I have had many
arguments discussions about how to make Christmas more meaningful, less harmful and less expensive. As part of these discussions, we have been talking about how to communicate our ideals to our children, who, because they attend public school, are exposed to a very consumer oriented culture.
Our week long vacation has meant we’ve had an uninterrupted time to
argue discuss our ideas. Thankfully, we are mostly on the same page, but my greatest fear is that our excitement about so many ideas will leave us exhausted! Especially as 4-H and ski league work is ongoing for both of us!
Our last afternoon at the ski hill has been internet research, looking into homemade gifts. Chris found an exceptionally helpful site by a lady named Terry Porter. I will dig up the link later!
Keep checking back; we intend to document our ideas and see if we are successful in our Christmas gift giving goals!