Swaffham Christmas Craft Fair

Credit - Nickpix2010 via Flickr Creative Commons

My husband's family made the mistake of leaving me in charge of our Christmas Exchange this year.  With 4 siblings (and now 3 spouses) they have  an exchange instead of buying everyone a gift. They are a family that likes to remember that Christmas isn't just about buying stuff.   So we draw names and buy just one gift.   Usually there are price restrictions around the gift to keep it as a "little" gesture.  This year I volunteered to manage the gift exchange and I suggested instead of a price restriction that we start a "nothing new" exchange. 

Why?  Well I find Christmas has become more and more about buying stuff and not about a nice sentiment for the people you love.  There is also a lot of waste at Christmas.  Items randomly purchased because we have to give someone something.   It is going to take us a bit more time to think about what to get someone, but it also means less trips to the mall during the busy holiday season. 

The rules for the exchange are to put together a creative gift, which could be something you:

  • make, bake or craft yourself
  • already own
  • find used on craigslist/ebay, at a consignment store, at a vintage store or garage sale

What isn't allowed - Brand new items.   Finally, I didn't put a price restriction on it, but reminded everyone it is supposed to be a "little" something.

Because this is a "new" idea to our family I gave everyone an option to opt out. Nobody did. So now I keep getting updates on ebay auctions and crafting ideas.  I can't wait to see what everyone gets.

It seems the family likes the idea so much that some people are extending it to the kids too (who aren't included in the exchange).   And hubbie and I are looking to extend the idea through my family too.  We usually donate to charity and then buy small stocking stuffer type gifts for my family.   Now we are looking at used or crafted items for those little gifts.  There will be two  exceptions to this - 1 - We are buying an Xbox Kinnect as our family gift to ourselves, and  - 2 - Santa might bring a couple of new items.

Have you incorporated any eco-friendly traditions into your Holidays?