Christmas, ideas, budget savy, creative, crafts, handmade, charity, adopt a family, different kind of tradition
Three of my favorite Christmas Traditions:
I’ve never been accused of being too prissy (unless you count 3rd grade). Never been one to overdress for the occasion (unless you count Jr. High). And I’ve definitely not been one to spend exorbitant amounts of money on Christmas for anyone but I’d venture to say I make up for it in creativity.
1. Homemade/Handmade Gifts:
The boys’ cousins wanted “Noah’s Ark” for Christmas and though I looked I couldn’t find something reasonably priced. When I mentioned it to my husband he decided that would be the “guy” project for the week. It took Noah years to build the Ark but it only took three boys and a lot of creativity to build this replica in a day. I am so proud of their effort. My boys were excited to create something with their own hands! Pictures here!
Pee Wee got a crochet humanoid last year that I spent hours on. An incredibly talented crochet “guru” I found online made a similar doll (but much better) and I love the blue color. My mom happened to have just the right shade! During that creative endeavor the boys had many opportunities to peruse online pictures of amigurumi animals. Each of them picked out a favorite of which I promptly forgot. THIS year I overheard them describing to their grandma what they were hoping to get for Christmas. Each of the older boys outlined the details of an alleged animal Mom was making for them. OOPS! So I made the boys crochet creatures. Thing One requested a Polar Bear. Pictures here! A cute little robot for Thing Two, see him here. If I can crank it out in lightning speed, a frog for the Bubba.
2. The Greatest Weirdest Christmas Ornaments Ever:
My first Christmas with Matt I believe he was a little surprised when I pulled out my box of Christmas ornaments. Why? Where most people have an annual ornament exchange with the family, quaint things like a globe with the year or another teddy bear bell I had things like a perfect miniature replica of a container of granola, an Odyssey of the Mind mini trophy, a red pickup truck (for the year I hoped my parents would buy me wheels for Christmas – they did, it was about 2 inches long).
In my family’s tradition the token ornament had to signify the most significant, strange or memorable event of that year for the person. We have continued on that tradition by including some of the strangest things you’ll see on a Christmas tree. See pictures here. A potty, a circular saw, a nice plump pig, an outhouse, a tooth, motorcycle, a surfing alien; all with equally strange explinations. But none that are “just because”.
3. Adopt a Christmas Family:
The most fun by far is our annual game of Ding-dong Ditchem”. After much prayer and consideration, sometimes accompanied by a little kick in the pants also known as divine intervention, someone identifies a needy family. On the sly we learn all we can about the needs, wants and desires of that particular family and then our family divide and conquer to get gifts chosen especially with the children in mind.
It is a blast when four or five families pool their meager resources to buy something big, fun and completely unexpected for kids who are likely to get only a small toy and a pair of socks for Christmas. If possible we choose a complete outfit for each child and fill another box with a feast for the Holiday! Many times we include gift certificates for food and gas as well. We always include a letter of explination where we share the meaning of Christmas and that Christ is behind our tradition.
This year the resources were quite slim and we feared a gift giving recess but the Lord came through! One of the family members received a “pay it forward” bonus from work and were challenged to spend it on someone needy. Someone else went through hand me down clothing that is still in great shape and filled a box with that. When all else fails we still have plenty of pork to share! 🙂
Nowdays The Drop doesn’t look quite like it used to. As kids we could drive up in the dark, deliver the bounty and run. Not so in the post terrorism era. This year we elected an outside party from our church to call and let them know there was someone who would like to bless them this Christmas. Yet another person is sent with a pickup load of presents and in this way even the “delivery” person is blessed and able contribute. 🙂 We remain anonimous and God gets the glory!
This post is linked at Extravagant Grace, Bringing Holy Back! Join the movement.