Tag Archives: holidays

Dismantling Christmas

On the 27th, I took the tinsel and beaded icicles off the tree. I was curious what it would look like, and frankly it looked rather barren.

I have to both find the glass ones I bought years ago and make more beaded ones. Most of the ones I have were a gift from a family who crafted items for sale, including beaded icicles.

I’ve been beading since I was a small girl. When I’d visit them, if they were making icicles, I’d grab a needle and do some while I was there. They didn’t pay me, it wasn’t for that. It was just a friendly thing to do, fun, and it helped them. That Christmas my present was several boxes. Usually their gift was sweet breads and cookies. But that year there was a box chock full of the icicles. What I have could be the ones I made, or not. It doesn’t matter. I value them as a reminder of the friendship I had with Lois, Gini, and Char, all gone now, alas.

I started to take one of my beaded garlands off the stair hand rail (I had wrapped two around it). The monofilament I’d made it with years ago broke. Although I kept it from fountaining beads up and down the stairs, I have to restring the several yards of garland. I’m in the midst of  restringing it on stronger, new monofilament. There’s one other Christmas ornament, a fimo one, which needs to be glued back together.

Ninety-five percent 0f the Christmas stuff is packed. The moving box I’d wrapped is full and I started a second. (I’d packed smaller  boxes inside bigger ones.) The idea that I now have less than the small trunk’s worth of Christmas stuff was overly optimistic. Yes I broke some things. Yes, I sold some too. Yes, I gave some away. But, aside from the tree, there were pieces on the console table, in the kitchen, on the end tables, the front door and the hall. If it was just the ornaments I had on the tree, yes, I have less.

I broke 2 balls and gave away a box of balls, a bag of lights, a box of tinsel, the few hangers I had on ornaments. I sold/put out for sale 5 ornaments that had been in the attic, a small box of them, and a few others. I’d already sold 3 table top trees. Need to do more culling and the items which haven’t sold are going away, somewhere, somehow, but they aren’t coming home again.

I also have to make the box(es) up for next year. My intention is to make it like a big gift box, or find some, I doubt I can find them big enough though. What I’m thinking about is a box which has a deeper lid than file boxes usually do, something like this:

moving-box

If I can get these, I can do what I want, have it look neat, and have storage the way I want it at the same time. We’ll see! I can buy them of course, it’s if the shipping cost is insane or not. I found a source locally! I can do what I had in mind. Cool!!!! I may (or may not) post images when I get it done.

Anyway, the tree is down, the ornaments are packed. The tree is outside ready to go to the dump, the table has been polished and the large ornamental piece which normally lives on it has been replaced.

The reason that I’m so focused on the decorative stuff is that we decided no gifts this year. Those we got were all consumables, and that is exactly what we wanted. No more stuff!

Although the two boxes and the tree stand haven’t been put away, Christmas has definitely been dismantled and the process was much tidier and more timely than in years past.

Going in the right direction!

If I can do things the way I want, I’ll get through enough other stuff this year so that I can get back to and cull/edit the Christmas stuff again, before next December. We’ll see!

 

 

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Cheap & Nonconsumer Holiday Season

My mom was a working mom. Because of that, for a few years, she was really broke and couldn’t buy into the whole consumer thing for her son (my older brother). She found ways to make it work.

At various times, for a lot of reasons, there have been periods when money was tight and a lot of stuff or spending a lot of money just wasn’t possible.

Given who we are, my husband and I, we have kept or discarded many of the usual “traditions” and do the following, not all of them, not all the time, but a mix and match as time and resources allow.

TREES & DECORATIONS:

  1. Buy your tree on Christmas Eve, they are usually 1/2 off.
  2. Or, if you have more space than money and can swing it, buy a good fake tree AFTER the holiday when they’re on sale, and use it forever after. You’ll save the gas, time, and money you’d have spent locating, buying, bringing home, and then discarding a tree.
  3. If you have land and the right sort of tree, then cut one of course!
  4. Make decorations and garland and keep them rather than buying glass or other fragile ornaments. Or, if you must buy them, get metal, plastic, wood or paper ornaments which will last, rather than fragile ones.
  5. Cut snowflakes for the tree from the end of last year’s wrapping paper, if you have any. We did that when I was a kid, but I don’t keep wrapping paper around any more.
  6. Make bead “icicles” (or buy permanent ones) rather than tinsel. Doesn’t take much room, costs less over time and there’s less waste.

TRADITIONS:

  1. Start traditions which are cheaper and less consumer oriented. The Aunt who hosts the largest family Christmas in our family has a “Yankee swap” where you gift a gag or nice gift, or several.
  2. Buying a tree on Christmas Eve fits here too.
  3. One year, DH was out of work. We just couldn’t afford to spend the $ we’d spent before making cookies etc. for the neighbors, so we made bread on Christmas Eve. Twenty plus years later, we’re still making bread. The recipe we make takes 1.5 hours start to finish and we’ve made up to 14 loaves on Christmas Eve,families with kids get 2 loaves, couples without kids get a single loaf. A fave memory of mine is going up and down the street with a bag of still-warm bread to give away on Christmas Eve. Everyone seems to like it and it costs us much less than the expensive cookies we used to make. (One of my acquaintances here made a large array of cookies every Christmas. She used the cheapest ingredients she could find — the cookies were awful. I refuse to do that. I’d rather make ONE cookie or something that’s decent than a plate full of unpalatable stuff.)
  4. Last year, I gifted my SIL, her husband and 2 kids with decorated cookie tins.  They aren’t all that large, but at my request, she sent the tins back to me after the holidays. During the year, I’ve put the little bits I found for everyone in their tin. Next week, I’ll mail them. It isn’t their large gift, but it’s a piece of it and it means that I don’t have to buy wrapping paper, boxes, and ribbons for these. I just have to tape them shut and put a tag on them. I might put ribbon on them, but that’s because I have a lot of ribbon and I’m trying to use it up.
  5. We put up the tree on Christmas Eve and take it down on New Year’s Eve. My family’s tradition was that we burned the tree in the fireplace on New Year’s. Since we heat with wood and the tree is almost always pine, we don’t do that. We adapted my family’s tradition: when we take down the tree, we cut a log off the bottom and tie a bow on it. It gets put in a bag and put away in the trunk with the ornaments. The following year on Christmas day, we burn the log. This costs us nothing but the space to store the log and it links us to our past in a nice way.

WRAPPING AND TAGS:

  1. Design your wrapping/gift tags to use (and use up) as much of what you already own as possible. I frequently use metallic or printed tissue for wrapping paper. It’s light, looks great over a layer of white tissue and it’s pretty cheap and takes little space to store.
  2. I’ve been whittling down my yarn/cord stash for some time with my Christmas wrapping. Last year I wrapped everything in black and white striped paper and then used a collection of blue, green and teal cords for “ribbon.” It worked. One year I used a ball or two of yarn I’d bought to make a sweater . You can, if you save them, make new tags out of last years’ Christmas cards. (I’m always afraid I’ll give the person back the card they sent me, so I’ve never done this.)
  3. Wax paper is great for making “snowy” cards.

Anniversary, of sorts

I started this blog, or started working on it anyway, a year ago today.

In that time: I’ve made some friends, changed the underlying theme (format), stopped posting pictures (our camera died), discovered I have more issues to deal with about house/home than I thought, and started posting about food & cooking.

I’m not sorry I’ve done this, I’m just dismayed at how far behind I am!

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate! It’s always been one of my favorite holidays: family and great food. Even in my dysfunctional family we usually managed to have pain-free Thanksgivings. I hope yours is joyous!

btw, if you’re in the U.S., frequently the cheapest food sold all year is sold from the week before Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve. You might want to add a 2nd bag of flour to your cart to take home or put in the food bank bin?

Last post until New Year’s? Probably.

Happy holidays! (Whatever type you follow.)

Things are getting pretty busy/crazy around here! I spent all day running thither and yon dealing with health care, automotive care, holidays, etc. etc. etc.

Because of the holidays, I’ve been using up stuff at a pretty fair clip.  Also, one thing I did buy was another pop crate for the bead collection, This enabled me to move a number of the bead containers into the office where they belong. (Big, toothy grin here. No SPACE BUDGET req’d for the beads, yet.) If I could find one more pop crate, and appropriate jars/boxes, I could probably finish moving all the other beads into the office. We’ll see. The vertical space is there, but there’s no drawer space or other room for them in bookcases or anywhere else at the moment.

This is the promised pic of this year’s holiday package

hand made gift tag, yarn tie with beads

Here’s today’s tally:

OUT

To dump (swap shop): 2 magazines, 1 glue bottle (split in 1/2, HUGE mess!),  box that stored bead boxes +4

Donated: box of kleenex

Given away 2 gift items, 2 bottles shampoo +4

Used:
4 windows, 22 cards (gift tags and holiday cards), 14 beads (in gift wrapping),
2 decorative boxes, 2 pkg tissue paper, 4 gift bags, 1 gift tie +49

Found new home/put away: 104 boxes, jars, etc. of beads (no space budget req’d, yet) +104

Moved from LANDING PAD: 2 kleenex boxes +2

Consolidation (a/k/a the Arlo Guthrie school of stuff management.)
4 windows into one screen +3

IN
Bought: 2 pkgs of tissue paper, 2 storage pieces -4

From the dump 0

NOT YET COUNTED
gifts wrapped to be delivered/picked up 9, asst other items to be given 4 pieces furniture, 2 phones, angel food cake pan
yarn

today 162

old 8608 100% + 564
new 8770 100% + 726

I’ve managed nearly 9,000 pieces out this year, I’d say that means I can certainly remove the 10,060 I’m aiming for next year, wouldn’t you?

We’ll see