Give More, Consume Less: DIYify the Holidays with a Gift Exchange!
"Spend more effort on one person a year... it will cost you less in the long run!"
It’s beginning to sound like a broken record: we’re in a global recession. Still. The cost of living is rising, if you have a job you’re supposed to be thankful, and the spending crunch of this holiday hurts just as bad. If you’re like me you already make most of your holiday gifts, perhaps all of them! Give yourself a pat on the back because it’s a lot of work! I’ve been DIYing my holiday gift giving for years, but last year facing unemployment with no job in sight, my changing ideas about how much I want to receive and consume, and finally being in the same geographical region as most of my family in years, I suggested we do a family gift exchange. And everyone said yes! YAY! I modeled our family’s exchange after a friend’s family’s, and used words like, “spend more effort on one person a year!” and “it will cost you less in the long run!” and “the gift will be more meaningful!” While one person still bought a bunch of us gifts rather than sticking to her person-for-the-year, I’d say it was pretty successful for the first year!
Our exchange is a cyclical exchange and you always know who you’re going to get and when. What we did is list our first names alphabetically and then the first year you get the person right after you. And the next year, the person after that. And so on. There’s only seven people on our list, which means I only have to do each person once every six years! We don’t have a spending cap, but encourage DIY gifts and spending less with more meaning in mind! Last year was a success and this year sounds like it’ll be going in that same direction. My stepdad has mentioned buying my husband a set of secondhand LPs he saw in the bargain finder (sweet!), I collected things from thrift stores for my aunt all year and knit her some mitts, and my mom is thinking of going to spend a few days at my sister’s house and cleaning and making her meals as a gift!
"Last year was a success and this year sounds like it’ll be going in that same direction"
If you or your family and community are feeling the pressure of the holiday-gift-giving-broohah, maybe an exchange would ease it up and ensure you get great gifts, a little more guilt-free, and you can have some time during the holidays to even DIY for yourself! And, if you’re having a work place or community group party you can also do an exchange game. A quick google search will yield you dozens of ideas for how to swap someone into submission to ensure you get the Josh Groban CD!
As a holiday gift for you, I put together this quick tutorial on how to make a sweet pillow out of scraps you might have around the house (or find at the thrift store). The cost for me was free and it only took me an hour and a half to put it together (with a baby underfoot). You’ll need to have access to a sewing machine and know how to use it (a little), but a little patience and confidence that it will be PERFECT will help you just fine! Happy Holidays Lovelies!!