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Hi, I am new to this group and I know that it is still really really early to be talking about Christmas but…... my DH, DD and I are new to the green way of living and because of me giving up work at the end of October are on a really really tight budget this year. I was wondering how you guys go about having a green christmas ? Any suggestions on toys or traditions that you have introduced ? I make all my own christmas cards - I send about 60 so I have already started and seem to have spent the last few weekends covered in glitter !!!!

Hmm, I suppose I just don't go besurk over present buying.  I really hate getting presents from people I haven't known very long and feeling obliged to do the same, so I only give presents to my husband, children, immediate family and very close friend.  This year, I have made dressing up clothes for the children's birthdays and I have a few ideas for Christmas as they love dressing up.  I made my DD a painted craft box last year and another year, I made my neice a stationery box with personalised notepaper inside that I'd made on the computer.  Things like that cut costs down and are nicer than bought stuff.

I make my own wrapping paper - get old horse feed sacks, take out the brown lining paper and let children loose with metalic paint and old sponges.  It comes out really lovely and very expensive looking and is free!!  I use cloth ribbon which gets recycled for next year.  Last year, I made my own Christmas cards by using a picture I'd drawn that I was pleased with and printing it onto cards on the computer. 

We went to the woods and brought home lots of old honeysuckle vine and pine cones and then I made a wreath for the door with bits from the garden. 

Some people here I know are making shortbread and home preserved things like sloe gin for presents, which I think is a fantastic idea.  A home made Christmas pudding (I've a fantastic recipe if anyone wants it) would make a lovely present or a little basket of home cooked goodies like biscuits, mince pies and jam. 

I suppose one of the most expensive things we do at Christmas time is make up shoe boxes to be sent abroad.  Becuase I have pruned down who we send presents to, I feel I can justify this and it is an important ritual in our house now.  Each child chooses an age group that they'd like to make a box for and then we go out and find things that we'd like to give.  I do a box for a teenage boy or girl and it reminds the children that Christmas is a time for helping others as much as receiving presents. 

All in all, I love keeping Christmas simple.  Candles, board games with a hot drink and the telly switched off!!!  I like to stay at home on Christmas Day and save the visiting parents till the New Year or at least a few days after Christmas.  It's definately a time for hunkering down and enjoying my DH and children's company.  I suppose our Christmases our pretty green, but looking forward to see how everyone else celebrates.

Home educating Mammy to DD aged 13, DS aged 12, DS aged 10, DD aged 7, DD aged 3 and DS aged 2 weeks!!  grin

I would love the recipe for the christmas pudding !!!! I am trying to do some home made stuff  - I have made loads of lavander bags for friends and for DD a rag doll from a pattern my mum gave me. My next mission is a home made advent calendar.

Helen, we ahve the same problem. So many relatives who want to 'treat' the children - what with that and then birthdays in February and March and the house is full of stuff. I try to ask for donations to their savings accounts or towards a big present. Last year they got so much cash that we ahve bought them a playhouse with it - far batter than loads of plastic tat. I also ask for vouchers for clothes - never clothes themselves or we get wrong size of stuff with awful logos or stuff that would make a street hooker proud for my 4 year old daughter! Or ask for books, that's not usually too bad, or useable things like pens, paints, paper, stickers, you can never have too many of those.

Liz grin x

Druid, boat-dwelling, home educating mum of DD1 (11), Aspie DS (9) and baby DD2 (2), & part-time step-mum to 2 stepdaughters, 9 and 7.

[center]Christmas Pudding[/center]

4oz (100g) Currants
4oz (100g) Sultanas
2oz (50g) Raisins
2oz (50g Mixed Peel
4oz (100g) Suet
5oz (125g Fresh Breadcrumbs
2oz (50g) Self-Raising Flour
4oz (100g) Moist Sugar or Caster Sugar
Quarter of level teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
1 level teaspoon Mixed Spice
Grated rind of a lemon
One cooking apple
One grated carrot
2 eggs
One tablespoon Golden Syrup
6 teaspoons Milk (or Cider or Ale)


Grease 2 x pudding basins
Chop suet (if needed) and make breadcrumbs, grate carrot and grate apple
Sieve Flour and add other dry ingredients
Add apple and carrots
Add eggs and Golden Syrup and mix in
Add Milk (or Cider or Ale) and mix to a soft-dropping consistency that falls easily from the spoon
Three-quarter fill the pudding basins with mixture, cover with pleated greaseproof paper or foil
Steam in pan (water half-way up sides of pudding basin) for 6-7 hours, topping up water when necessary, OR you can cook in a slow cooker, with water up to half-way up sides of pudding basin for 8-10 hours on HIGH
To re-heat on Christmas Day, re-steam for 2 hours (3 hours on HIGH in a slow cooker)

This really does make lovely, moist Christmas Puddings and keeps for ages too.   wink


Home educating Mammy to DD aged 13, DS aged 12, DS aged 10, DD aged 7, DD aged 3 and DS aged 2 weeks!!  grin

I totally agree about the Christmas presents for the children.  They really do have so much stuff and they always seem to play with the usual favourite things.  My brother used to be a terrible culprit for turning up with an enormous, all-singing, all-dancing, battery guzzler that took up sooooo much room in our small house and had no volume control!!  I used to gently hint that all the children wanted really was a little bit of Lego, but I don't remember him ever taking any notice.  My mum bought my (then) 7 year old a DVD of Star Wars last year which I was quite annoyed about as I know it's far too old for him.  But hey, he's a boy, so he's BOUND to like Star Wars isn't he!!!   ::) ::)

Home educating Mammy to DD aged 13, DS aged 12, DS aged 10, DD aged 7, DD aged 3 and DS aged 2 weeks!!  grin

We're already starting to have the pressie problem, birthday and Yule (no Xmas here lol) are 4 weeks apart so it's a nightmare. I am saying either money or I will make a specific list and ONE item may be bought from it. Any deviation from the rules will result in the offending item going directly to the charity shop. I don't want to be ungrateful but I don't want money spent on pointless rubbish'.

Green wise, make pressies/cards/paper/crackers/foodstuffs/decorations. Buy as much locally produced produce as you can.
If you are having a tree get a live one in a pot so you can plant out afterwards?

DS1~05 DS2~08

I think some of you can read my mind, I've been thinking about Christmas and the gift dilema etc!  That makes me sound ungrateful I suppose but I hat the thought of people buying things we don't need/want and the waste of money/resources/effort etc.  Can anyone recommend an acceptable way to suggest to someone we stop doing presents for each other and/or each others children.  I the past we dashed about getting things for people we barely see so prob don't end up getting them something they like and vice versa. 

My other question was all you people who make food presents (biscuits etc) how to you get around having to do most of the work last minute?  Are there any recipes that can be done in advance and frozen etc, or that will just keep?


Wodgehog, don't worry about Star Wars - I went out one day and came home to find DH, DD (4 years old) and DS (2 years old) all watching it. DH already ahd it anyway. I did hint later that I felt makyeb its themes and violence were a little too old for the kids, but of course I was outgunned byt the kids absolutely loving it and I still, to this day, have to call ym daughter Luke a large part of each day. Luckily, I get to be Leia, DH is Han (yum, I should be so lucky!) and poor DS, who isn't quite sure what it's all about yet, gets to be C3PO. So, it's not just boys, just inevitable, I'd say!

Liz grin x

Druid, boat-dwelling, home educating mum of DD1 (11), Aspie DS (9) and baby DD2 (2), & part-time step-mum to 2 stepdaughters, 9 and 7.

Hi Julysea

At least I know it's nothing awful.  Silly thing is, my ds hasn't shown any interest in it yet, but mum and her husband are sci-fi avids and so can't imagine a house without a Star Wars or Star Trek DVD.  Maybe it's me being grouchy and remembering all those mealtimes with mum and my brother glued to 'Trekkie' on the telly and the multiple trips to the cinema to see Return of the Jedi!!  "It's life Jim, but not as we know it!" .......................groan.   raspberry

Home educating Mammy to DD aged 13, DS aged 12, DS aged 10, DD aged 7, DD aged 3 and DS aged 2 weeks!!  grin

last year we had an amazing christmas dinner where everything was locally produced/grown/reared!
it was a lovely experience shopping at the farmers market on christmas eve - none of the justling, arguing and general nastiness you usually get. people were happy, chatting in queues, and being handed free mulled wine.

my daughter has just had her birthday, and when people asked what she wanted, we said money or vouchers. we pooled it all together and bought 1 large item which she will have more use out of than lots of smaller items. this worked out so well that we are going to do the same for christmas.

we are also looking at making our own salt dough decorations this year.

I shall be snipping a few holy sprigs from the local lanes and getting some ivy out of the garden to decorate the house this year.  We have a real tree and put glass baubles on it and nothing else.  I try and get baubles from bootsales in the summer and charity shops.  We make our own cake, puddings and mincemeat, we get our turkey from our veg box farm (along with the veg) and we make our own crackers, wrapping paper and cards.  My hubby is actually off this year ;D so it is going to be extra special. 

‘If we did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves’  Thomas Edison

We get some bits in from Yellow Moon ( and we paint and glue and glitter things like the wooden bookmarks/make badges etc for people. Handmade means made with love, imho. If you're feeling really crafty, a strip of balsa and some hobby tools await.

Just interested to know if making your own cards is more expensive?? I imagine that buying card, glitter, glue and the rest would work out a lot more expensive - or do you have some clever tips. We will be having a very frugal Christmas this year so I am very interested in this thread. smile

You can buy an advent calender 'fabric kit' where you put all the bits together and stitch (numbers preprinted, and shapes ready to cut, instead of drawing onto material) on ebay, very cheaply.


I shall be having a go too, in time for christmas.

Ok, what about present for girls (30-40yrs) I always get stuck buying for my sisters in law and would really like to make something this year any ideas???

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