Last Christmas, we decided to Do-Christmas-Differently...  and the first rule was that the adults weren’t going to waste money buying all of the other adults Christmas presents.

I don’t know about you – but there have been very few Christmas presents (that I have received in my adult years) that I have either wanted… liked… or needed.  So – to save ourselves space, free ourselves from extra unwanted / unneeded household clutter, and save our relatives some money – we made a rule:  no presents for the grown-ups!  Besides, the “gift” for us was the time spent with our loved ones… the experience of eating, laughing and enjoying the day together… that was “present” enough.

The kids, however, are a different story.  I have wonderful childhood memories of Christmas – and all the excitement that surrounded the festive season.  I want my kids to have lovely, exciting memories of Christmas too!  So – presents were definitely “allowed” (for the kids)… BUT… I really wanted everyone to re-imagine the kinds of presents that they might choose for our children.

Christmas is a time where obscene amounts of money is spent at shopping malls… where well-meaning people buy huge amounts of cheap, plastic, made-in-China crap for their children.  Most of this stuff breaks and ends up on a landfill, just a few months later.

Now, I am all for treating the children… and buying them fun toys… but I’d much prefer them to receive toys that are well-made, locally-made (if possible)… and that encourage healthy, imaginative play (more on that topic later).

Even better, of course, would be hand-made prezzies… although I doubted anyone had the time (or the inclination) to do this.  Well… can I just say that my mother and my sister took up the challenge – and created the most AMAZING gifts for my kids!  Hand-made!  Recyled!  And best of all – loads of fun!  Nobody spent a cent on these presents – but they have given my children hours of playtime joy!  Even now…  4 months down the line, the re-cycled prezzies are holding up just fine – and are still regularly used by Beetle, Bear and their friends.

Here’s some pics…

 

My mom made an entire kitchen… out of old boxes and bits of scrap!

Morgan – hanging up dishcloths…

Morgan, preparing “food”…

The kids created their own restaurant…

Look at all the detail inside the fridge! (my Mom amazes me!)

Morgan demonstrates the washing area…

… and shows off her new gold cloak / dress made by her Aunty Soo!

My Mom made a whole village for Joah – where he could play with (and store) his cars….

SUCH detail… and again, made from old boxes and junk… this is resourcefulness at its best!

Another view of Joah’s present…

Joah feeds his dinosaurs to the Monster-Storage-Box that my sister made for him (she also sewed it out of bits of scrap)…

A Monster growl from Joah…