pause, regroup

2015-12-14 07.04.04 1.jpgIt’s Christmas. IT’S CHRISTMAS. Each year I make a conscious effort to put the brakes on around the end of November. I do improve each year. It’s hard to avoid the rat race this time of year.

I dusted off my sewing machine this week and I’ve made seven pairs of shorts (I use this pattern) and one little skirt for some of the small people in my life. I’ve still got a few more things to make, namely for my own kids – two sweet crochet and sew dresses too much to ask two days before Christmas!? I may have to revise my list…

Instead of granola (I always use this recipe with my own little spins) for my main gift for humans (family, kinder teachers, friends, etc) I decided to collect tins over a period of time and use them to make little succulent pots (pictured above). This was a great activity for the kids to help with, they tore the paper and scrubbed the glue off the tins, they dipped them in white paint, they helped to fill the tins with soil and after I had planted each cutting they placed little pebbles around the new plant. They enjoyed doing it and there was enough variety to keep them interested. All the succulent cuttings are from our own garden, or from walks in our surrounding area. It also ticks my main gift giving requirements which are to upcycle and make use of things we already have, but also result in a thoughtful and meaningful gift. Extra points go to presents that the girls can have a hand in making. I’ve got a few more ideas and inspiration here.

In my travels I’ve found some good articles on the topic of our crazy consumerist culture, particularly around this time of year. You can read a collection here; the ones by Rhonda Hetzel were my favourites.

It’s so important to me not to buy into the chaos, not to allow the pressure of the purchase, to roll my eyes at the shopping advertisements. I refuse to be sucked in by it all. Over the years I’ve slowly learnt the alternatives and I can see a way out. I realise now how easy it is to either make my own, or if I do purchase something it is almost always either handmade by someone else, or ethically made, fair-trade or local. I’m honing my skills in this area and am really happy that despite having three kids under five I’ve managed to make the majority of our gifts this year. It’s probably the closest I’ve ever come to having a buy nothing new Christmas. Next year, I’ll aim for 100% handmade or ethically produced.

What about you? What are your Christmas pressie traditions/aims/ideas?