Friday, December 10, 2010

Buy Nothing for Christmas

What a headline! It captured my attention this morning as I scanned for today's news. Apparently there's a sentiment that seems to be finally growing among Americans this holiday season and that is to cut way back on gift shopping. Several online movements are encouraging people to save their money, make their own presents, or provide personal services like baby-sitting or massages as gifts. "The holiday season is about sharing time with loved ones, not going into debt", one woman was quoted. "It is entirely unnecessary to spend money in order to show others that you care."

With so many families struggling to make ends meet, it seems like a no-brainer to cut back on spending, yet it's predicted that people will spend more this year than last. I find that hard to believe given the current state of affairs most of us are in. Isn't this mass consumerism partly to blame for the struggles the Western world faces today? Haven't we found ourselves having to face the fact that for too long now we have not lived within our means?

One woman's husband the article described had lost his job 2 years ago and is still struggling finding part-time work. But despite the struggle, or perhaps because of it, they have gotten stronger as a a family and learned valuable lessons in being thrifty. She can give her kids an even more important gift than the latest toys and gadgets, and that is "a family that is financially stable even in a falling economy".

From a related article I read about Kenneth Wingard, a home furnishings designer, who this year is planning on giving away organic peach jam and preserves from his California ranch for the holidays. "It's definitely a cost savings," Wingard said. "It probably ends up costing us about $2 a jar and we are handing out 60 this year." But he doesn't just do it for the cost, he enjoys the warm feeling it brings him.

"They are the kind of fuzzy peaches I remember growing up with in Georgia -- where you buy them off the side of the road and they make the whole car smell like summery goodness," Wingard said. "The jam is the same way -- the color of the peaches stays vibrant and when it hits warm bread it smells like I'm back on the side of the road with peach juice dripping down my chin."

Isn't that lovely? Doesn't that description just take you to Georgia? I can imagine the intensity of the fruit that he remembers from his childhood and the juices running all over. Yum.

If you are one of those people who wrestle with finding the "right gift" or you're looking to save some of your hard earned cash, look to your talents or hobbies, such as cooking, and ask yourself if you can't tap into that and use it as a way to give to others this holiday season.

A personal, homemade food gift would be appreciated by anyone. How thoughtful would it be to bake tantalizing treats, "put up" preserves or jam, make your favorite spice blend, assemble all the dry ingredients of your favorite cookie recipe in a jar, or offer to cook one night for a busy family, all of which are ways to give without breaking the bank.

Now, who wouldn't want a gift made with love?

To read the article on, click here.


  1. I love this post. So, with my mom miles away and physically unable to do one of her favorite passions this holiday season, and with all the recipes she has handed down to me, I will be making some cookies and candies that she made for us kids when we were little. I'm calling her daily giving her an update on the latest baking adventure. She is living vicariously through me and enjoying it almost as much as baking herself. An assortment of all the baked goods will be packaged up and sent to her for her taste buds to savor and possibly reminisce on the past.

  2. That is an absolutely fantastic thing you are doing. I am sure your mom is loving every minute of it, and is happy to know that her recipes are being enjoyed and appreciated by the next generation. These are the memories that make Christmas special, aren't they? Now, if we could just get Melody to bake something!


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