Gifts to practical, frugal, ethical people who don’t want more crap

Oh Christmas, how you fill my memories and continue to taunt me… this was a draft post from the Thanksgiving era and I figure I ought to finish it! Merry Christmas to everyone. Isn’t it great to have a fun holiday with family and then sleep in REALLY late at home the next day with no commitments? Our part of the country was surrounded by terrible weather, but we escaped it and timed all traveling perfectly. There was quite a bit of beautiful snow today at home, but I stayed inside in my jammies the whole day.

This post at The Simple Dollar is very close to my own thoughts on how-to-buy-a-holiday-gift (for me, anyway). You may not even need to read it now, but for anyone who cares, there you go. Except if you care, you already know this about me, and if you don’t care, you were the person who bought me purple plaid pompom slippers and animal-tested soaps that give me hives. (Those gifts have been rehomed.)

I fight an ongoing battle against clutter. I think most Americans, as consumers (and relatives of consumers in the holiday season), have this battle, but many don’t acknowledge they should fight it! I guess it’s not for me to say you can’t have a house full of stuff. But I don’t even WANT a house full of stuff and I still have it.

In the past couple of years I’ve focused on getting rid of things I don’t use and simultaneously not buying things I don’t REALLY need or want. And honestly, there aren’t a lot of things I really want. I know I live a lavish lifestyle compared to most of the world population, but overall the economy would tank a lot faster if it depended on me as a consumer.

Anyway, I love lists at Christmas so I can give exactly what a person wants, and to avoid those awkward conversations about returns. It’s a shame people put up with clutter no matter how well-intentioned the gift. And thank you, almost everyone, for not getting me random things. I am in love with my slippers (the sustainably-made ones I requested) and my new camera, and I’m also in love with not having any returns nor in dusting knicknacks. Except maybe that candle. Somehow I get a candle every year.

I suppose I sound ungrateful to some. Truly, if someone could help me purge a bunch of my belongings and find homes for the stuff that persists as clutter, I would be ecstatic. I may never tame the clutter monster but I am eternally hopeful.

The things that made me teary this year? (Rare, I know.) My brother and his wife surprised me with a special dish at Christmas dinner, because they felt bad that I always ate only the side dishes. (We are eating the leftovers of the veggie pot pie today! And shame on the bulk of the family who didn’t even try it. There’s no excuse like it being ‘weird’ like some of the ethnic foods I bring to family parties.) And my 10 or 11-year-old cousin asked for donations to animal shelters instead of toys, which my mom and I provided along with gifts for her.

5 thoughts on “Gifts to practical, frugal, ethical people who don’t want more crap

  1. Glad you enjoyed it. Now we need to have a conversation about what veggie foods we can cook you that you “want” so Andrea and I don’t “clutter” your stomch with foods you didn’t “ask” for. 🙂

  2. Har-de-har. Just stick up for me when family members try to tell David he ‘shouldn’t put up with that garbage’ when they discuss my diet. I’m not sure why they need to discuss it in the first place, and they could always ASK me instead of being gossipy and saying I have “food issues.”

    I’m tellin’ ya, this blog would be more fun if I didn’t censor myself!

  3. My family thinks I’m weird for not eating dead things, too. I don’t make an issue about it anymore — just bring along a veggie-friendly, protein rich dish with enough to share. I don’t expect anyone else to have to go out of their way to accommodate me and when they come to my house they get vegetarian and if they’re not happy they can bring a dead animal for themselves. Works out best for all.

  4. I admire your dedication, Amy. I’m proud of you. I don’t think anyone in the family thinks your diet is anything less than admirable either. You know how they like to tease.

    But seriously, I would like some ideas for recipes for you. Andrea and I are going to try to make something for you for get-togethers as often as possible. I will be glad to find stuff on my own, but I wouldn’t want to make something you don’t like.

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