The Conclusion to our Freegan Holiday

All the wrapping was recycled.

If you’ve followed this blog throughout the holiday season this year, you’ll recall our “freegan Christmas” experiment. As a family, we took on the challenge of celebrating Christmas this year without all the frenetic shopping ad spending; resolving to create handmade, thrifted, recycled, or other “freegan” gifts for each other.

So did it work?

A bout of the flu that came home with my high school junior and spread, as well as several whopping snowstorms, limited my ability to scour the thrift stores, but I managed a couple of trips. When NYC gets a foot of snow, everything comes screeching to a halt. When Meeker, Colorado gets a foot of snow, well, life continues as per normal. It’s all in your perception of reality, I suppose.

My crew, eating Christmas dinner.

I ended up spending less than $30 on my gifts for my family. A pair of near-new Levi’s for my oldest son who, at 18, is already afflicted with that peculiar male belief that one’s waist size remains the same throughout life. Daughter received a handmade velvet and lace earring organizer for the wall. I found a golf ball monogrammer for my son-in-law: $2.50. And son #2 received a thrifted Tickle Me Cookie Monster ($3.50 plus batteries). Yes, he’s 16, but he’s quite the Cookie Monster fan. He has shown that toy to all his friends who’ve come over since Christmas, and it makes them all laugh. The laughter of teenagers is priceless.

That left my youngest. I was still racking my brain for his gift on Christmas Eve. Scary. I discovered a black hoodie sweatshirt at the local thrift store for under $1. Using the “parkour” logo he has on his FB page, I crafted a fabric and felt replica and used my sewing machine to applique the logo to the sweatshirt.  (Parkour is also known as freerunning.)

The real thrill? When my boys realized they had presents. For some reason (failure to listen?) they were under the impression there simply wouldn’t BE any gifts this year. Sigh.

The freegan Christmas project seemed to be harder on my husband than it was on me. He gave me the best gift ever, though. He went grocery shopping for me. On Christmas Eve, no less! And he picked up stocking stuffers for everyone and a gift or two at the dollar store.

I got a giggle out of this… reminded me of Kate & Leopold.

So, would I count the experiment as a success? Yes, and no. I didn’t give my family enough time to prepare, and apparently I didn’t explain things well enough. But the light in their eyes when they realized there were presents for them under the tree was well worth the effort. And my youngest, who just turned 13, was happier with his recycled, handmade present than any storebought gift he’s received in years. For me, knowing he really, really liked his present was the best part of the day. One of those cases when I was reminded that giving is REALLY better than receiving!

Will we do it again? I will, but I won’t make it a rule for the rest of the family unless they want to participate. Just knowing that recycling, upcycling, thrifting, etc., are an option is good for us all. It certainly expanded MY view of the day.

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