We had a nice quiet Christmas with family this year. All the Christmas parcels ordered over the Internet arrived safe and sound with the exception of one DVD ordered through Amazon.ca on December 8th. Fortunately my 19 year old step-son was very understanding and is anxiously awaiting arrival of his hard to find DVD. Our Christmas budgets were mostly held to and our family spent about $250 less than last year.
How did I do with the "No More Christmas Crap" challenge? I would give myself a B plus. I only bought one piece of Christmas crap and that was napkins with Christmas motif for the dinner table - purchased for $1 at the Dollar Store. How did I feel about it afterwards? Foolish as they made little to no difference in our Christmas experience. Hubby on the other hand was somewhat forced into the "No More Christmas Crap" challenge and did purchase one item, a light ball he found at a local greenhouse while picking up a gift certificate for my Mother-in-laws gift. Retail price $17, bought for $13 as he negotiated a better price as it was the floor model. The Ikea lit wreath which decorated the bedroom had one section that quit working and you cannot buy replacement bulbs. I spent 1/2 an hour restringing the lights so that the dead ones are surrounding by working bulbs and when lit only I would know there are some dead lights. My husband did not realize I had successfully restrung the wreath and really wanted a special Christmas light for the bedroom, therefore the Christmas ball was purchased. The "No More Christmas Crap" challenge is being carried over into 2011 until we get to 100%.
On that note today I re-purposed the Christmas cards we received this year into gift tags for next year. They do look pretty good if I do say so myself, and are entirely made of recycled items. It is truly shocking how much packaging is thrown out every Christmas. This year when gifts were opened all packaging, wrapping, bows and ribbon went straight into a blue recycle bag for me to sort. I hope to re purpose most of the ribbons and bows for use next Christmas, and there is still plenty of Christmas wrap in the closet (purchased for 26 cents per package of four rolls in January 2010) left for many years to come. Kids seem to understand the concept of re-use and recycle more often that adults do. My stepson was upset that everything was going into this bag including gift bags. At that point I explained to him that I was only temporarily storing these items and would go through later to examine what was reusable. He was happy I was not simply throwing out one of the jingle bells that was attached to his Christmas gift.
It seemed very strange to stay out of stores this December with the exception of grocery shopping. This was accomplished by ordering items at the lowest price on-line, through airline points (Aeroplan points converted into Movie passes) and doing the rest of the shopping in November.
We attended one Christmas Party for which I had nothing to wear. Ten minutes at Good Will and a shiny blue Gap blouse was purchased for $4.99 (estimated retail $40). This will now become part of my work wardrobe. Something changed this year and I am looking much closer at where I spend my money - or for that matter why I spend. For that reason I am not participating in any of the boxing day shopping sales and am now spending my last day before having to go back to work tomorrow reading and relaxing in the quiet comfort of my home.
Happy New Year everyone!