[Guest blogger today - Anne - from Unique Gifter]
Sometimes there are events that really stick out in your mind, years and years later, even though they were pretty inconsequential at the time. I’m about to share one of those things for me, which I perhaps remember because it was traumatic to my young mind?
It was at a Christmas party for the local professional designation group for my Mom. There was a gift exchange, of the white elephant/completely unknown variety and this guy received a nipple shaped coffee mug. Yes, a coffee mug that was basically a gigantic breast. Now that you have that awesome image firmly planted in your heads, let me tell you the part that stuck with me the most. He said,
“I bet I could wrap this up, in the same paper, and give it again next year”
That, my friends, is the part I want you to remember. I propose that you find some sort of cheap ridiculous or silly item and make it your standard gift for every gift exchange you participate in. Alternatively, every time you get a questionable, or downright crappy, white elephant gift, simply put it away to regift next year. Save your money and inflict it on someone else! Everyone should jump at the chance to own a Gourmet Fat Magnet, right? A Christmas tradition is born!
Not all of your Christmas family traditions need to involve a garish contribution to some poor soul, however. They can be actions, stories, food, gifts or whatever your imagination dreams up. Your partner serving up breakfast every year while wearing a stocking as a hat doesn’t cost anything at all, but quickly becomes a tradition.
Christmas Eve Dinner
This is quite a tradition in my household. My spouse’s family has a lobster dinner every year on the 24th. My family has been known to have a feast of perogies and Ukrainian sausage. Once upon a time, one of my professors said that growing up in Japan as a kid, they had spaghetti for dinner every Christmas Day, because it was such a departure from the normal for them.
A fairly common Christmas tradition is to give new pajamas on Christmas Eve. Just because you don’t have any kids, doesn’t mean you have to skip out on getting your significant other some nice PJs, or maybe new underwear!
Several years ago, there was a commercial on TV about going into a store and the only choice being black socks. I don’t remember what they were trying to sell, other than the part where their service was customized to you. My Dad thought getting some black socks for Christmas would be a great idea and likely wasn’t the only one; I’m sure a lot of sock companies thanked whoever made that commercial! I have purchased my spouse new socks every Christmas since then.
A new board game is another awesome “repeated,” and cheap, gift that you can make into a tradition. Plus, it will give you something fun to do that afternoon.
Food and Drink
My parents always make a wreath shaped cinnamon bun thing during the holidays, often for breakfast on Christmas Day. My spouse’s family always has champagne and orange juice (and baileys and coffee!). You could do something as straightforward as making fresh squeezed orange juice and make that your tradition, or maybe make a crock pot of apple cider that smells up the house overnight!
Stories and Ceremonies
Make up a ridiculous ceremony for crowning the tree that you repeat each year (free!), or read the Christmas story every Christmas Eve (free!). Wake up your spouse and open your stockings in bed with some hot chocolate.
There’s something about Christmas traditions that make us feel like we are loved and a part of something. They don’t have to be expensive, long, or complicated either, just something that you and yours do that ingrains itself in how you celebrate, and becomes your very own quirky Christmas tradition.
A friend of mine will be hosting her fourth fancy dress Christmas Eve party this year. We live in a town with a lot of ex-pats who are a long way from home and several end up working on December 25th, so this big party is one that we can all attend. Other friends are having a big Christmas feast in December for folks who will be spending the holidays with just their friends in their own town.
This year, my spouse made me brandy apple cider while we decorated the tree… so far, I’m voting for that to become a little tradition for us!
What are some fun ways you celebrate Christmas on the cheap?
Anne spends a lot of time writing about gift ideas, cheap and otherwise, over at UniqueGifter.com. This time of year has been devoted to coming up with a gigantic list of over 500 Stocking Stuffers for Adults. You should click on over.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We pass around a tin can of dehydrated water in our household that we think is funny ;) It’s always best when it’s wrapped up in a crazy different shape too, as to not give away what it is!
Photo cred: soundfromwayout / tweaked by Anne