A very complicated Christmas

Wednesday 12th of December 2012

POSTED BY: Amy Warne

'Tis the season to be jolly well annoyed at plastic crap and your family who purchase it. Bless their hearts and I love them dearly. Christmas is a challenging time of year if you care about the environment and have little kids to purchase pressies for. This I have experienced first hand. In truth my family has come a long way in our Christmas antics. Only a few years ago we were still all buying for each other – on my side of the family that’s two grandparents, four siblings (including me), four partners of siblings and 11 grandchildren. Maths is not my strong point but to give you a visual, the pressies took out the corner of my parents' lounge room and after opening them we could barely see each other over the pile of wrapping paper and plastic packaging. My mum would bring out 11 suitcase sized gift bags for all the kids to put their loot in... all this while the waste education officer quietly hyperventilates in the corner. It was obscene and in the end we all agreed on that.

You will be happy to hear that sense has prevailed in our family and for the last couple of years we decided not to get presents for siblings and partners but have experimented with Secret Santa for the kids. It’s been complicated. My brother is a financial planner. In the most complicated year we:

1.       Did the draw with all the cousins (a most difficult task on its own!)

2.       Gave all the parents copies of who was to purchase for who

3.       Then (this is the complicated bit) each parent purchased a gift that they knew their own child would like

4.      Before Christmas all the parents got together in clandestine and gave the present to the parent of the child who was supposed to be purchasing the present

5.       Parents went home and wrapped the present with the child who was giving the gift, so the child experience the gift of giving

6.       The sensible parents whacked their palms on their foreheads and wondered how Christmas got so complicated. Ah yes, the financial planner.

I do not recommend this system but despite the complications each child received a good quality gift they loved and there was heaps less packaging! This year we are trying a simple Secret Santa, like they do in normal families. All the kids are old enough now to ring the parent of the child they are giving to and ask them what they would like. It might just work. My financial planner brother has issued one additional instruction: his children do not want home-made tie died hankies and the gifts must be purchased from Kmart or similar. I can handle that. This family is progressing one little elf step at a time.

I have to say though, I am still partial to home-made gifts like these that my boy made at school:

Or this home-made Chrissy cake we made for his teacher:

I like love in my  pressents...but I guess we all express love differently. Merry Christmas everyone!

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