Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Second-Hand Christmas

Well, I promised a post on how we did Christmas on a buy-nothing-new budget. Here it is! And its only... almost three weeks after the fact? :)

To start, I must say that my love language is Gift-Giving. I best express my love for others by giving them little tokens of thoughtfulness... usually items that *click* when I see them... because of some personal joke, funny story, or its just them. Not any gift will do. It can also be a card or a note... something that says, "I was thinking of you while we were apart."  Equally, I receive love on this same level. My poor hubby.

Anyway, our resolution really put a good challenge on my gift-giving heart! But alas, the many thrift stores in our area and the craftiness of my husband made for an amazingly... second-hand Christmas.

We had decided in the past that we would give our children three gifts each: something they need, something they want, and a surprise. We want to love them with "things" but not overdo it. We also don't want to lose sight of the true purpose of Christmas... the giving. The Gift. So off I went to find gifts for my kiddos. Here's what we got.

For my 1 1/2 year-old daughter:  Amazingly enough, I found my little darling a baby doll cradle new in its box at Neighborhood Thrift. Hello??? It had never been opened! Here she is playing with it after we screwed all of the pieces together. At this very moment, around ten baby dolls are sleeping in it... at once. :) Very communal!

We also got her a little stuffed horse (compliments of her 3 year-old brother) and a nutcracker from Target. I had searched nearly every Thrift store I could find for nutcrackers and couldn't find a single one! Apparently people keep these. We went as a family and saw the Nutcracker Ballet this year... so I really wanted some token to remind them of that experience. It was only $2 and they each got one.

My three-year-old son got some clothes (hand me downs from friends) which happened to have some of his most favorite characters: Disney's Cars and a Dinosaur. He was thrilled. He also got a moose stuffed animal from a thrift store (that he had picked out), a kid's tool box (from my MOPS group), and his own nutcracker. He seemed to be the most excited of all my children for his nutcracker. In fact, it followed him around for a bit. 

My ten-year-old daughter got a nutcracker, a BUNCH of clothes (all from thrift stores, but many will new tags still on them). She was ecstatic. She also got a Book of Classics for Girls from Usborne Books and More. I bought this new at a home party from Consultant Cindy Rowland. She offered a fund-raiser party (which I hosted) to raise support for my dear friends, the Gilmores, who are moving to Haiti. They are going with Christian Friendship Ministries. So even though I bought it new, it was to help raise money for friends. Can't pass up a chance like that! My daughter also got a tea-set, new in its box, from the same thrift store mentioned above. She had attended a tea-party birthday party this year and loved it. Finding this tea set was perfect!

My eleven-year-old son also got a nutcracker, a Book of Classics for Boys (for the same fundraiser), a ton of clothes, and a Yoda, new in its box from a thrift store. It was amazing how many new things I found at thrift stores! My kids could hardly tell their gifts were "used!"

For other family members, my husband made really cool bird houses from an old fence lying in our back yard. They were AWESOME. And I don't think I took a single picture. Ill have to go find one and post its picture here. We also gave some cool goodie bags filled with ingredients to make certain meals... for example, a bag with all of the dry ingredients for chocolate chip cookies, or a soup, or hot chocolate, or cornbread... with a recipe. Its like a meal or snack in a bag. They were super fun to make and even more fun to give away!

So its possible. Aside from the $2 nutcrackers from Target (which may end up on the "consumable" list, everything was "used."  The best part was that my kids were thrilled! They loved their gifts!