For Christmas this year, my Grandparents suggested that our family have a "Recycled Christmas:" everything given was to be handmade, homemade, re-gifted, recycled, or bought used. I, of course, jumped right on the bandwagon as we have been trying to cut down on "things." The idea was met with some resistance by a few members of our family, but in the end, it turned out great!
I don't have many photos to share with this post, but I wanted to share with you some of the creative and thoughtful gifts that were exchanged in our family this holiday season.
My grandparents gave each of us family heirlooms, along with a personal note that explains the story. For example, my fiance received a photo album full of childhood pictures of yours truly. I received old family handkerchiefs, and a beautiful beaded white purse given as a gift many years ago to my grandma. My mother received a hatbox full of family photos. My brother, a great great uncle's ring.
My aunt (a skeptic) gave me a conga drum that she traded a train table that her children didn't play with anymore for, and she gave my fiance an antique radio she bought when Aeropostale was selling all of the decorations from its store closing. She also made us tie-dye shirts. My cousins also helped making gifts, decoupaging a chair for my sister's roommate, and coloring Christmas pictures for each of us. My uncle gave my mother bacon that he smoked himself, and my brother gave my uncle gourmet, homemade flavored vinegars.
I gave my cousin a blanket I made, another one used books, and I made my grandma a jewelry set. My Poppy (Grandpa) got my homemade french onion dip, a jar of salsa I canned, and a re-gifted (yet unopened) bag of Terrell's SU cheese poofs.
If you haven't tried a homemade/recycled holiday with your extended family, try bringing it up sometime, our entire family had a blast making and searching for gifts in unusual places, and each gift has a lot more meaning than something just purchased in a store. Even those of us who were unsure of the idea ended up enjoying the family bonding experience it created.
My mom, opening her box of old family photos and documents
(even one of my grandmother's old report cards!)