A non commericial christmas

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Andy Hamilton
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A non commericial christmas

Post: # 71693Post Andy Hamilton »

I have started to write the odd article for this magazine. My first article should be in the November issue called "In praise of the humble beetroot". I am hoping to write an article entitled, "Consuming less at Christmas" - Basically I would love to write about anyone on heres experience with trying to have a Christmas that does not involve spending a fortune on presents and not eating until they can't move. With your permission(s) I would like to use this thread to quote from. Thomozo's bindweed christmas directions would be a great start!

Probably a bit early to be thinking about Christmas but if I do write this article it has to be ready for print by October 16th! Of course I will be most thankful for any help with this.
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Post: # 71694Post circlecross »

we tried last year to kick start our manifesto of less consuming at Christmas. The Turkey was local, organic, and the veg was a local veg box (or dug out of the freezer from own produce), things we didn't grow had to be fair trade (most of the cake and pud, and chocs etc). Gifts were requested to be less for one thing, and fair trade. The tree is a planted one - just had to relocate the beasties out of it. We make family cards usually.
While this is not in the realms of bindweed decorations, it was our start to encourage our families to see the whole present and feast fest in a different light, especially as the rest of the family are the ones who profess to be christians, and this is their celebration, not mine. The dh's family are very over abundant in the present buying usually so hopefully the message may have sunk in last year and this year will be easier to enforce. :mrgreen:
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Post: # 71697Post Masco&Bongo »

We didn't have Christmas dinner last year!!

We made a really nice casserole, fresh bread and frozen veggies from our veg box and a nice bottle of wine.

No huge turkey that you end up eating for weeks, no stuffing, pigs in blankets, cranberry sauce etc

No christmas pudding (which I don't like anyway) and no crackers, special christmas table mats etc...

It was just about being with the people (and animals) that we wanted to be with without having to make a huge fuss.
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Post: # 71701Post red »

I like making a huge fuss. a winter celebration is just what you need.. in ...er... winter!
but - you can do it without the tat. we do the whole christmas dinner thing.. and we make everything pud, mince pies, stuffings, red currant jelly instead of cranberry etc.. and its fab. I enjoy the process of making it too... in fact for me the most fun of christmas is the run up with the preparation the baking cooking etc. (but each to their own)

one thing we did some years ago was agreed with large group of friends and family that we did not have to swap presents anymore, and if we did - it would be homemade. so each year now a swap of homemade icecream, pate, jam marmalade fudge, sloe gin etc goes on.. and its great.. and you really feel you have something worthwhile if it was made for you (rather than a heap of assorted junk bought from a shop and then decided who gets what later....) - the fact it is optional takes the pressure off, and makes the whole process more fun.
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Post: # 71706Post Shirley »

It's really hard to do a non commercial christmas.

Despite requests to family there are still unnecessary gifts and cards etc. I've FINALLY got the message across to my family about cards... but I'm sure they think that I'm quite mad. Gifts are another thing altogether. I don't mind them sending something to the children... but it should be useful (can still be fun!) rather than over packed junk. Last year we even received a 'stocking' from grandma that was filled with individually wrapped tat for the main part. There was a compass included, which was great... but then there was all sorts of things that were broken within a day/completely unsuitable... permanent bubbles that stank to high heaven and were actually recommended for a child over 7 (J was 3 at the time)

We did have goose.... but that was from the local organic farm and because we like it! :mrgreen:
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Post: # 71707Post Shirley »

red wrote:I like making a huge fuss. a winter celebration is just what you need.. in ...er... winter!
Have no problems with a winter celebration :) I think various stages of the year should be celebrated - but not with all the hype that goes with christmas.
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Post: # 71710Post Karen_D »

I tend to refer to it as Giftmas unless I know the people celebrating are actual Christians.

We don't do the Gift exchange thing with family any more. It got silly and we really don't need any more stuff. We do celebrate Yule which is a 12 day festival and friends come over for get togethers. It's much more sedate and peaceful than how it used to be and much more enjoyable.



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Post: # 71713Post Annpan »

I pretty much think the same as Red... I LOVE CHRISTMAS, I love the build up, I love the excitement, I love the preperation, I LOVE the cooking and baking.

We give homemade or locally sourced gifts (My family has a £5 limit - well there are 25 of us) One year we cooked a full christmas dinner with all the trimmings for all my family on Boxing day, our get together day, that was our gift to them. I have made scarfs but mostly make cranberry sauce, jam, marmalade, etc then let people take their pick of what they want.
Some of my family have begun buying charity gifts (10 trees, a goat, 10 chickens, y'know, oxfam sell them) but personally I think that this is boastful and selfish, I think that charity should be a private thing and I don't want to recieve a 'gift' that makes me feel guilty about having a good time. - Not to mention that I wouldn't mind 10 chickens and a goat myself :lol:

Decorations we do ourselves or reuse old ones - I am quite house proud so I don't do the disposable tat, I have a set of tinsel and glitter-ball baubles that were used in my house when I was growing up, but OH thinks they are too taky so this year I have made oragami decorations (pack with 40 sheets 1.99, instructions from the internet) They look really swish and posh.
I also will be drying orange and lemon slices and using them as decorations.

I make my own wreath for the door, I use a ball of string and loads of laurel, holly, ivy, whatever else looks good. - Start with the laurel and wind the string round it along the length, 6 inches from the end incorparate another piece of laurel and continue winding until you have it long enough to bring back round to where you started making a rough circle. Continue winding the string bringing in ivy and more laurel. When your wreath has some strength to it tie off the string and then decorate it by sticking ivy and holly through the string so you bulk out your wreath and hide the string. It takes a while to do but it is enjoyable, especially if you are arty farty :oops: I use the same method to make boughs to decorate the mantel piece in the livingroom.

MULLED WINE cannot be over estimated, it is the smell and the taste of Christmas, it warms you and makes you jolly :drunken: For 1 bottle of wine - 1 cup sugar, 2 tbsp cloves, 2 cinnimon sticks, juice of 2 oranges and 2 lemons. YUMMY - I also do the same recipe but with Apple juice instead of wine, for the drivers, or kiddies.

Add to all this SANTA he is free and makes christmas so much more magical, but remember that he only comes to you if you believe in him - recently he has been filling my (homemade, crocheted) stocking with all fairtrade and organic goodies :cheers:


Well Andy I hope all that helps, it makes me excited just thinking about it.... I have loads more free or cheap ideas. I go OTT at christmas (as you may have guessed) but it doesn't need to be commercial
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Post: # 71714Post Annpan »

Karen_D wrote:I tend to refer to it as Giftmas unless I know the people celebrating are actual Christians.

We don't do the Gift exchange thing with family any more. It got silly and we really don't need any more stuff. We do celebrate Yule which is a 12 day festival and friends come over for get togethers. It's much more sedate and peaceful than how it used to be and much more enjoyable.



Wassail

Karen
We call it Festivas :lol: (Stollen from a Seinfeld episode) Jews have Channucka, Christians have Christmas, Hindus have Diwalli, So how about a Festivas for the rest-of-us.
Lets face it most of the things that we do to celebrate it pre-date modern christianity and cross cultures, it doesn't have alot to do with the birth of Jesus - unless you choose to celebrate it that way.
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Post: # 71718Post eccentric_emma »

i love christmas too. i think that regardless of your religion, that its still important to have some sort of mid winter celebration. for me it definitely helps with the winter blues and i like the sense of togetherness with friends and family.

at home i like to pop some popcorn and put it on string and put it on bushes etc in the garden for birds. my husband and i also set a £20 limit on what we buy for each other and spend ages scouring charity shops to get as much out of our money as we can. i normally end up with a whole stack of books which take me the rest of the year to get through, and a couple of jigsaw puzzles which i love to do on dark winter evenings!

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Post: # 71734Post red »

make our own wreath.. i have a willow one and i thread bay branchlets all along it, and it looks really lovely and pagan and green

on boxing day, we meet with friends at the pub and act out a mummers play which is a huge laugh, and then play music (folky and christmassy)
so thats pretty non commercial eh?

last year I declared that last week of home ed before Christmas break to be a making things week, and we made paper snowflakes to decorate the windows, made a chocolate log, mince pies (lots) biscuits to hang on the tree, looked up the different traditions around the world going on at the same time, made cards, made fudge, read 'A Christmas Carol' and so on.
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Post: # 71736Post Martin »

winter solstice and Yule is what we need! :dave:
blooming modern upstart religions usurping proper winter festivities! :mrgreen:
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Post: # 71749Post baldowrie »

we don't have particularly commercial Christmas and mainly due to lack of funds Christmas pressies are minimal..I got a hand an axe last year off my children and a yogurt maker from my mother and I was chuffed to bits with them. Yes the children did get some toys but this year they won't as they are old enough now not to have them.

Christmas dinner was made up of some lovely pork, thanks to Stoneheads pigs :mrgreen: , and chicken a friend bought for the family. The muffins for breakie were home made topped with fresh eggs from the hens and homemade hollandaise sauce. The Christmas pud was also home made, no cake as no one eats it. Unfortunately the veg garden was not set up, hopefully this year the table will have more home grown stuff, including a nice fat chicken!

We didn't over eat or over indulge and the children enjoyed themselves with out the usual thing of not knowing what to play with.

One only luxury, as every year, was the annual panto trip.

The only decoration was the tree (with the babbles I have collected over 20 years), an artificial one as I couldn't afford a rooted one and won't buy a cut one...unless it was like Stoneheads cut offs he had trouble over.

I have bought something for Christmas this year, outside lights. But they are solar charged ones!

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Post: # 71753Post Thomzo »

Andy, I'm really flattered you want to feature my bindweed wreaths. Do you want one to photograph? PM me your address and I'll pop one in the post. I warn you, they are quite small but cute :lol:

I celebrate Christmas with my mother. Last year we went to some friends of hers and had a great time. We don't spend much on each other and always buy something that the other one needs plus some little treats but, again, they are always useful things.

If I receive anything that I don't actually want myself then I don't hesitate to pass it on to charity or give it to someone who would use it. That way I get the pleasure of giving so I have still gained by that present.

Happy Festivas/Giftmas everyone.

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Post: # 71756Post contadina »

More and more people are realising that once you escape from the mad consumer-fed sham that Christmas has become it can become so much less stressfull and infinitely more enjoyable. Why, oh why do people go on a shopping frenzy just because the shops are shut for one or two days? Making decorations, presents and entertainment is much more fun.

We forage for decorations Christmas week - olive branches feature heavily as we're busy harvesting olives at this time. Christmas dinner is entirely homegrown including interesting drinks, such as Santos di Ciliegie (Holy Ghost cherry liquer). Crackers are homemade, a la Good Life, thus ensuring funny jokes and fabulous head wear for all.

Asking guests to provide 15 minutes entertainment is a lovely way to ensure that no one slips into an after-lunch stupor. As is a ramble in the country.

Homemade presents are wrapped in newspapers or bits of fabric and any cards sent are via email having used Photoshop to funk up a suitable photograph taken during the year.

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