Consciously Creating Christmas
Like many people these days I am trying to economise and this is particularly an issue when it comes to Christmas. I have always done Christmas on a very small scale and been flexible which makes things easier.
The first issue was a Christmas tree, my daughter wanted a Christmas tree, I thought it was extravagant. I was told that I was being mean not getting one so I went up to the local charity shop to see if they had one, which they didn't. I then decided to walk to the local woodland to see if I could find a branch that we could improvise with. As I walked down past my house in the right direction for the woodland there was a man I knew doing up the old supermarket. He suggested that I looked at his Christmas decorations round the corner, where he had made a reindeer out of wood. Next to the reindeer was a sign saying 'Free Christmas Trees' and beside that was a small row of trees. Apparently I had been the first one down there. I felt a bit greedy but I took the largest one. I found it too heavy to lift so he carried it home for me and then, my daughter and I potted it. The tree turned out to reach the ceiling and just turn over slightly at the top, and that in a 10 foot high room. Of course, the tree would be too high for most people, so it was best that I took it.
We had some Christmas decorations, but in the box of candles that I had been clearing out I found two Christmas candles, so that could be added to the collection. The charity shop had old Christmas CDs going for next to nothing.
Christmas presents are another issue. I have an enormous supply of greetings cards so cards weren't an issue, and then I realised that a solution to reducing the number of cards and sorting out my mother's present was simply to send her a selection of cards. Most of these were handmade and she got a wide range. Mum is 82 and doesn't get out that much so it saved her a job too. I have a friend who lives in a caravan, I gave him some boxes of candles that I was clearing out. In the past I have shopped in the local charity shop, which has got harder and harder as the children have got older, so they will get cash this year.
And finally, wrapping paper. The local newsagents gave me some of the paper that the boxes of cigarettes are wrapped in. It is brown paper with a pattern on it. It looks exactly like upmarket environmentally friendly wrapping paper.
Christmas doesn't have to be expensive, in fact when you think back to the first Christmas, maybe it should just be simple and happy.