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Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Scrooge or eco warrior?

I noticed this sign earlier this week so yesterday I went inside the church and bought some Christmas cards - I know I have said I can't bear to think about it till nearer the time but the first year we were back from France and I went to buy some charity cards at the beginning of December they had packed up and gone! They are only on sale from now till 4 December apparently.

As you may already be aware Christmas is not my favourite time of year - I don't know why as I love the reason for it, the carol services and the spirit of goodwill BUT I could count on one hand the number of Christmases that haven't ended in tears, usually mine. I loved it when my daughter was little and I was kept busy making angel costumes out of old net curtains and searching the shops for a Care Bear she really really wanted but now well.....

Am I the only one who feels the stress mounting when the October magazines come out filled with all the things I should be doing in order to have a proper spectacular Christmas? I should have made my puddings and cake by now so that they can be maturing nicely - why? We don't actually like Christmas pudding and when I make a cake it is usually only me that eats it and then I get depressed as the pounds I have managed to lose pile back on. I should be making lists and buying gifts (cashmere cardigans and stocking fillers at £30 each? - who are these people anyway?) along with sheets of wrapping paper and ribbons, filling my freezer with food to feed the hordes of visitors (what when we are never more than 4 including my sister-in-law and daughter and this year my daughter will probably still be roaming round Australia) and generally preparing to deck my halls and to be merry - well Bah humbug! I won't do it any more. I refuse to worship at the altar of commercialism in the cathedral of Tesco!

I have decided that this year instead of sending gifts to my friends I will enclose with their cards a little handmade Christmas decoration - see above - and a note explaining that I have decided to give the money I would have spent (usually only about £5 each plus postage) to charity and suggest that they give to charity too instead of to me - many of them have already been told of my decision anyway. So to this end I am now busily making some little decorations that will fit nicely inside the envelope with a card. I will make little sachets like the one below from recycled papers stamped with a potato cut - I am having such fun here!

Now tell me, honestly, can can I claim this as being in the interests of reducing my carbon footprint and helping to save the planet (as well as my sanity) or am I actually just a miserable old bag and a Scrooge into the bargain?
PS Just realised that it might look as though I have but 3 friends - those are just the first 3 tree decorations I have made more will follow!


  1. Absolutely an eco-warrior of the highest order!

  2. Yippee - I love this post Jane!!
    I love the spirit of Christmas, but it seems to have been completely eclipsed by commercialism (and all the things shops and magazines want us to buy), and yet so many people go along with this new 'ideal' life!
    Christmas is about love, caring and family (small or large). Like your daughter, I really wanted a Care Bear all those years ago, but it was a wish ... never a given thing. That made it so much the better when I finally did get it.
    You just were never sure what would be under the tree....
    And so, I don't think you are a Scrooge at all - your decoration gifts are lovely, and I'm sure your friends feel the same way about Christmas!

  3. I absolutely agree with Dan's comment. We are trying to go back as a family. We will buy gifts but small ones and anything else will be homemade. We wont spend a fortune on food and bring out the same decorations each year. Some are now 30 years old. We turn off the tele and play games and concentrate more on the sprit of Christmas...and you know they all enjoy it much more! You are certainly not Scrooge, but the true Christmas Spirit.

  4. Oh I have to agree with you, especially about the part of usually ending in tears. Christmas has been especially stressful for us for a number of years now, am hoping it will be better this year!

    I for one would delight in receiving one of your wonderful handmade decorations, so much better than a meaningless, mass produced, highly marketed 'gift'.

    A good book that Floss recommended last year that I haven't really read enough of yet is Unplug the Christmas Machine.

    So no you are not a scrooge at all, it is time Christmas was about thought and not everything else.

  5. I love your Christmas gifts. An eco-warrior, of course! Who needs expensive cashmere clothes? I celebrate it my own way too and don't care about what others may think. It is about the spirit, not keeping up appearances.

  6. Definitely an eco warrior! I think that hand-made items are much better than the ones in shops! Love your wrapping paper too!
    Lucy xxxxx

  7. You are simply reviving the spirit of Christmas Past when gifts were a thought and not a burden on the bank balance. I stopped giving gifts years ago...

  8. The birth of little Jesus and the spirit of goodwill are quite enough for me. I don't sweat over preparations; I only do what's fun for me and my family. I couldn't care less if there are tons of dishes on the table. I hate it when my mother-in-law spends whole days in the kitchen when I know they can't afford all this food and then she complains that she's tired so that her sons sympathise with her! As for shopping, I usually try to cross out names off my husband's list of presents.
    I love Christmas, I really do and my best Christmas so far was last year when we spent it alone, just the three of us, away from shopping and exaggeration.
    Love your little ornament idea.

  9. I agree with everyone else, definitely an eco-warrior! I much prefer the receiving of a small thoughtful gift, like the decorations you are making than spending lots of money on presents that often people won't even use! I especially hate all the pointless tat you're meant to buy for stocking fillers, they normally get thrown out a few days after Christmas or put to the back of a cupboard. I'm trying to handmake almost all presents this year, spending less and putting more thought and effort into each present.
    Your little pouches for the decorations are so sweet too! Great idea! :) x

  10. Here, here, Jane!!!
    Christmas is way too commercialized and it is never the same after the kids are too old for Father Christmas.
    I think what you're doing is great, very eco-warrior!
    Vivienne x

  11. Hooray, I'm not the only one! I absolutely dread Christmas but if I say anything I get sideways looks from everyone and am made to feel a spoilsport but, for me, it's all the work in the HEAT. Christmas is always at my place. I hate to not see Mum and Dad and Tony's family and my kids but it means soooo much work.
    They come to stay for several days, I have to provide meals for what seems like hundreds but in reality is about 6-8. Then there are Mum & Dad's likes and don't likes (pizza, pasta, only Mum's curry etc.....)By Christmas Day I'm in nervous breakdown mode. Then the rest of the family arrive . They all help with the food but as it's my house I've vacuumed and cleaned then I'm up and down serving, organising, cleaning up and I'm HOT, HOT, HOT!
    I've tried the alternative, Christmas on our own and I hate that too! I enjoy the people, just hate all the work in the heat and even when we have the aircon on, with 25 people in the room the temperature is never cool enough for me!
    I cling to the belief that if I could just have a cold Christmas, one with a warm fire and snow falling outside , I would enjoy the day so when I win the lottery I've promised to take the lot of them overseas with me and we'll have that White Christmas that I've been longing for.
    Till then I just bite the bullet and try to put on a brave face so I don't spoil it for everyone else but I'm afraid my guard slips occasionally !
    PS I LOVE your handmade gift idea. In these times of plenty when we buy something if we want it, it is very hard to find something to buy that doesn't cost the world and that will actually be welcomed and put to use.

  12. Oh dear I'm afraid you really opened the floodgates there !
    Sorry for the rant !

  13. Christmas is about the thought (gifts), family, friends, talking, laughing and RELAXING ENJOYMENT - not how much it has cost us
    Go Eco-Warrior!!!!!

  14. Proper spirit of christmas :) Rather than the altar of commercialism. I like to keep it small & personal - just wish I could persuade my Outlaws that this is how I prefer it.

  15. I enjoy elements of it: love the cooking and feeding of people. I have, however been appalled over the years at the sheer level of expense that people go to in order to buy the latest "must have". I think your hand made gifts will hit the spot and are so very personal. Always more prererable in my eyes....

  16. I'm with you too! I hated christmas between the boys getting to old to believe in Father Christmas and getting a lovely grand-daughter. We don't spend a lot on Christmas, it is the thought that counts not the money! I love your little gifts, they have given me an idea!
    Julie xxxxxxxx

  17. Moving away from extravagance to a more crafty Christmas can only be a good thing!! Your small gifts are beautiful and worth so much more for being handmade.
    Helen x

  18. Christmas is not about what you think you should be doing according to what society or the advertisers say. It's about what you want to do. I commend your decision to do what feels and is right for you. Christmas should not be a burden. If it's a burden then what's the point.
    I was reading Helsie's comment above about always having Christmas at her place and all the work that goes into hosting Christmas. Because of this my family alternate who hosts each year. And because there are three families it works out well. We all pitch in and then no one is left doing all the work.
    I hope you have a better Christmas this year.

  19. With you all the way, buy buy buy, what has that got to do with Christmas. Don't get me wrong i love to see the look on my kids faces when they open pressies but do feel it is all a bit much. Why can't the shops just stock Christmas stuff in December - not months ahead. You go for it, if they love you and love your makes they will be overjoyed with their little pressies.

  20. With you all they way on this, Jane. Husband likes to send Christmas cards so can't abandon those, but I am intending to make some and always buy charity ones otherwise and we don't have to do much in the way of presents, but I long not to have to cook. We're definitely doing some handmade presents this year and cutting down on the food purchase but I must admit I'd be happy to spend the day with a good book and a plate of cheese sandwiches (especially if someone else made ths sandwiches!).

  21. You are absolutely right Jane......I'm with you. I hate the commercialisation of Christmas (and the word 'xmas'). We should take a stand!!!

    Love your little gifts BTW :-)

  22. Oh thank you for writing this post, as it is very much how I feel too. I love the true spirit of Christmas and would be most happy if all it involved was being with friends and family and having a good time and going to Carol services, etc. But the gifts - well this is where I start to get all Bah Humbug, because I find the whole business of gifts really very uncomfortable. I'd be so much happier if there weren't any gifts!!
    Your tree gifts are delightful and so much more in keeping with how Christmas aught to be. Oh dear, I'd better stop - as this whole issue of consumerism / gifts at Christmas is my biggest bug bear .... !!
    Take care and as Linda has said - maybe we should all get together and make a stand!
    Denise x

  23. Wow Jane, you have hit the nail on the head here by the number of responses - and I am with you all the way too. Love your gifts, I was on a similar track myself with my stars, however I think I shall take inspiration from you and have a little re-think.
    Jill x

  24. Fantastic post, you're not being Scrooge like at all. Your idea about the charity donations is a great idea. Must say that I agree with Jee, good book and a cheese sandwich sounds like bliss to me.

  25. I just love your little tree decorations. Very pretty and original as is the little paper envelope you put them in.

  26. Jane,
    What a resounding response to your post. You're mining a rich seam here I think. It appears we're all of similar minds so you know you're not alone. Anyone who has met you would NEVER call you an old bag. I'm with the rest here - stand up and be proud 'Eco Warrior'! Lesley x

  27. I'm right with you! In fact, I've issued a challenge to my bloggy friends for a Thrifty Christmas. Please come join in! I'll have the buttons up this weekend. Larri at Seams Inspired Thanks for sharing. Happy FTF! :o)

  28. Nowt wrong with a shop bought cake!
    I buy nothing special at Christmas, anyway, there is far too much wanting in this world, whats the matter with just being chilled and relaxed, life is not a competition!
    I get really tired of all the pressure that lands at the feet of women, to perform like robots!
    Have Christmas your way...and then it may bring you all the joy you

  29. OOh I love your little gifts. I'd rather receieve something hand made and heart felt than a million Boots bath selctions :D
    I must say, we opted out of all the palaver by volunteering at our local animal rescue on Christmas day.

  30. I'm with you... 100%
    If I buy a gift it will be from the nspb or rnli and all other gifts will be homemade (sloe gin and crocheted bits and bobs) and I do not aim on buying any more plastic trash toys for the kids... no more! its a horrendous waste of time and effort... my niece is studying costume design so I have bought her a second hand book from amazon and its all going ot be done by the end of this month so that I can spend november and december making and creating a beautiful traditional spirit of christmas with my family... paperchains... decoration making and sweet chestnut roasting ... bring back the meaning and traditions of Christmas... I have bought my mums friend a handbag from the betterware catalogue but I felt sad for the poor woman delivering the catalogues... what a way to make a bit of money..

    big hugs to you and those Christmas decorations are beautiful... perhaps we could do a little swapsee? ;D a decoration for a decoration... I would love a tree full of things made by friends each one with a meaning to me...

    x Alex

  31. Hear Hear! well done you.

  32. Jane, I wholeheartedly agree with you. We used to do some crazy Christmas with my Dad´s family while growing up, and now we just gather on Christmas Eve (all four "kids" plus our families and mom and dad) have dinner that mom and I make usually, games and NO CRAZY GIFTS. We give each other stuff we KNOW we'll use often (I'm giving all my nieces and nephews SIGG water bottles this year, and my SILs requested handmade shawls)My eldest brother is getting a sketch pad and drawing pencils from me, the second one is getting an embosser for his HUGE colection of books and my "little brother" some baseball hats (he's outdoors all the time). Hubby is getting a much wanted tool box and tool set. Mom and dad are giving really big gifts this year (bunk beds, a set for each family) but as I said, they are stuff we are going to use a LOT and not trinkets or candy or fancy things. And we always have LOTS of fun.

  33. Wow Jane, I have only just read this post (cannot think how I missed it!!) sorry that I have used several similar/same expressions in my post.. how weird is that? All I can say is great minds think alike! Liz x

    Love the card and decoration idea...


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