Return of the Rent-a-Tree
There is plenty I do ‘wrong’ with Christmas. Wrong being total engagement in the full on consumerism orgy that is the month of December. I spend too much money. Too much is completely relative, because I don’t set a budget to begin with. For shame. I also end up, inevitably buying for myself. Because once the spending taps are open, why not just turn them on full bore? It’s one of those instances where I tuck and roll right out of my speeding frugality vehicle. Damages be damned!
Over the years, I’ve managed to get a couple of things right. Behold: The Rental Tree.
Very much like its predecessor last year. $35 and ugly as all get out. Compare that to the $60-$70 I’d spend on a much shapelier tree. A full fir grown just for the privilege of temporarily gracing my home. Not destined, like its spindly cousin here, for stream restoration, but for mulch (if its lucky) or a landfill (if its not so). Year two of tree rental found me with reasonable expectations and all too happy to welcome my unlikely little sitka spruce back into the fold.
$30 or so isn’t much in the grand scheme of my Holiday spending. A drop in the bucket of over consumption, that needs to be reined in. Someday. Someday soon. But, as I ponder, its not just the tree. I’ve made some changes over the years. Small ones, leading up to a growing list. Be prepared. I’m about to give myself some credit here.
Recycled Christmas Cards, adorning my mantle, right along side the fresh batch still rolling in for this year. Christmas decorations: $0. This project provided inspiration for further craft insanity in the form of..
Bows made out of old magazines. (Find the how-to on my Pinterest). A little more labor intensive than the bunting (ok, a lot), but pretty. Especially adorning the #1 gift I am giving them year.
Canned goods. That’s right, the pregnant lady is giving away her pickles. The stash I canned way back when is about to be depleted. For a good cause. Sharing. A fringe benefit of hoarding and protecting your pantry from the pilfering of friends is the sense of worth it imparts on those lovely jars. I think recipients will be pleased. Especially with the addition of the lovely bow.
Then there’s the money I have spent (and am spending…) locally, with actual people. Most of it. In times of consumer glee, my anti-Big Box ways serve me well. There’s a little bit of Amazon in the mix (as always) and I may have broken down and finally purchased that much coveted Apple product at a very slight discount on the shopping day of all shopping days, but lets not talk about that. Most of my gifts were procured from real people. Real people who make stuff. My favorite kind of stuff. There were craft fairs, lots of them, flea markets. Hands were shook. Business cards exchanged. Local economies contributed to. My favorite stuff and my favorite way to spend money. I wish I could show you pictures of all this cool stuff without ruining surprises.
This year is slightly different. Not that I’m spending less money. We aren’t fully tallied yet, but I’ll bet it’s no better than years past. Different in that, this is my last hurrah. Impending arrivals. Circumstances changing. I’m living it up a bit this Christmas, basking in our Dual Income No Kid status one last time. A couple parts are due for 2013 update. I’m loving the life I have, the tips, tricks, and lessons I’ve learned along the way. Even if they only equate to pickles, an ugly tree and some magazine repurposing. While looking forward to all the many changes in store for us.
Whatever you celebrate, do just that. Celebrate it. In the best way you know how.
What are your own Holiday accomplishments? And ‘challenges’? Do have a tendency to go over board? Or is a frugal as easy this time of year as it is the other 11 months?