buy nothing x-mas?

Welcome to the October 2012 Simplicity Parenting Carnival: Holidays
This post was written as part of the monthly Simplicity Parenting Carnival hosted by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM. This month we are discussing how we simplify the holiday season. Be sure to read to the end to see a list of the rest of the excellent carnival contributors.

i am already planning for christmas 2012. if you know me personally, i’m sure you’re not surprised to hear that! yes, it is only october, but the holiday season is around the corner and i like to be as organized as possible! christmas is my favourite time of year. i get super excited, super psyched and super stressed. you can read all about the x-mas rage i experienced last season!

as my kids mature and start to feel and understand the excitement of the christmas season, i try to make a point of discussing the magic of things rather than the consumerism of things. 

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i grew up in finland, and once december rolled around, kids were reminded of very sneaky “joulutontut” or christmas elves, who travel around spying on kids to see who is naughty and who is nice. the tontut are small little elves, who poke around corners and peek through windows to see what kids are up to, and will eventually report back to joulupukki or santa with a detailed report. as an adult, i have the skills to recognize the tontut and last holiday season i saw the tontut out of the corner of my eyes and told the kids; they believed. 
that’s what christmas is about to us. the mystery and the magic.

each year the four of us love to get creative and make lots of gifts for people. one year i made big mason jars of soup. annually, we make a huge mess in the kitchen as we bake a large assortment of cookies, the kids make all sorts of art, we make our own x-mas cards (one year i drew each card by hand individually), we make wrapping paper and re-use gift wrap from years passed, and sometimes jazz up the old with potato stamps! there is a lot we do and in doing these things, we are kinder to mother-earth, gentler on our bank account, but most importantly we are teaching our kids an invaluable lesson : christmas is about giving, not about receiving. and specifically, it is about giving love, sharing love and being with family.

at four (almost five) i recognize that bear has inherited his mummo’s desire to create various things as gifts. he is eager to make art, both abstract or something practical for people he loves. his wee bro lion, is also very artistic and eagerly follows whatever project bear has on the go.
this year, i have some projects ear-marked that i can’t mention here, not yet anyway! there are some crafts that the boys and i will get to as we get closer to the giving season. we will make our annual batch of salt cookies, paint them and make garlands from them. we will re-make our christmas wreath on our door, make ice lanterns and maintain other finnish traditions. i will start playing festive music early and i am already collecting various items for the wall hanging advent calender i made the boys last christmas. bear is still talking about it!

sure, we talk about asking santa for things in our annual letter, but i always remind bear that just because he’s asking, doesn’t mean he’s receiving it! yes, we will buy the children presents, but as in years past i will buy lots of things second hand or we will make things ourselves. yes, we will buy gifts for our family and friends, but again, with frugality and the environment in mind. so, honestly, this holiday season will not be a buy nothing x-mas, but it will one which will include more baking and more crafts!

ho! ho! ho!

Thanks for reading the Simplicity Parenting Blog Carnival! We hope you’ll take time to read these other great contributors’ posts: SimParCarButton150x150

  • Making Halloween – JW at True Confessions of a Real Mommy says “No need to spend a lot this Halloween! Check out some easy, frugal ideas for dressing your family up!”
  • Hibernating During Halcyon – Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children and her family are gearing up for the Halcyon celebrations and enjoying some quiet time as a family.
  • Savoring Family Time (or, Simple Homemade Gifts) – Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM is trying to prepare for the holidays early so she can slow down and enjoy time with her family as the days grow shorter and a new baby enters their lives.
  • 7 Green Gifts for Toddlers – Shannon at GrowingSlower shares unique green gift ideas for kids this holiday season that are sure to be green mom approved.
  • Less is More: Simplifying the Holidays to Make Room for More of What Matters – Amy at Anktangle shares a few easy strategies she uses to keep the holidays manageable, stress-free, and fun!
  • buy nothing x-mas? – mama lola at bear & lion describes what christmas is all about to her and her family; treats, music, crafts and LOVE!
  • DIY holiday fun – Justine at The Lone Home Ranger revels in thrifting for and making her own holiday gifts and decorations.

Thanks to all the fabulous writers and readers for being a part of our simplicity parenting community! Stop by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM to see how to join us for a future carnival.

xo, mama lola
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  1. says

    I want to learn more about your advent calendar! I wanted to make one last year, but it didn’t happen. I’m committed this year. Your holiday spirit is admirable, and it sounds like a lovely Christmas. I love that you incorporate Finnish traditions for your children. Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      justine, i scoured pinterest (as usual) for ideas and thought long and hard about what kinds of things to gift the boys in the calender. i made a HUGE wall hanging and sewed decorated pockets on. i iwll be posting more about it as we get closer to the beginning of december.
      i told the kids that a joulu tonttu came in a left the treats each night. they believed me and it was such fun!

  2. says

    I love all your ideas. I especially identify with wanting the children to understand that “Christmas is about giving and not about receiving.” Making gifts is so wonderful. I love the idea of making a garland with the salt cookies. We made ornaments but I hadn’t thought to string them together. We’ll have to try that. Cheers!

  3. says

    Awesome! I love crafts as you know and it my favorite time to make homemade gifts, cards, treats etc. I love the homemade aspect of the holiday season. Last year was my first married Christmas with my hubby and it was crazy busy and not what I am used to, and I am also making it a point to slow things down this year and enjoy them. Newly married, we were all over at various houses with family and friends for each weekend in the month, and I didn’t get to have my “sister baking day” and that was missed. I took off from work this year on the 14th until Christmas to have some time this year. Can’t wait to see what you are up to for the holidays!!

    • says

      i LOVE the idea of having a baking day and inviting people over! so great you have planned in advance and get to join the fun this year! i will be checking your blog to see what kind of holiday cards you’ll be making this year.

  4. says

    I keep trying to think about what handmade gifts I would enjoy getting, and then making those to give others for Christmas. I haven’t quite decided what route to take, but it is a little intimidating since we are only two months away already!

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