This holiday season, talk of having a “minimalist Christmas” or participating in Buy Nothing Christmas seems to be all over the place (maybe it’s the economy? An attempted Scrooge coup?). And I’m happy to report that my family continues to be on-trend. Last year, we were all about un-wrapping gifts, a practice just poised on the brink of widespread adoption. And months ago, we decided to switch up our usual store-bought grab-bag presents for all homemade goodies instead.
Usually, our extended-family grab bag works thusly: Each participant brings a crowd-pleasing gift, typically under a predetermined price cap, to place ’neath the Christmas tree. We draw numbers, then, when your number is up, you choose between unwrapping a new present or stealing an opened one from a cousin or uncle (how festive!). If your present is stolen, you get to open or steal another, so in the end, everyone has something -- and incidentally, you don’t age into this grab bag until you graduate from college, so the kids still get their toys.
This is a fun system, and we’ve always been able to count on a good haul of wine glasses, board games, tree ornaments, and kitchen gizmos. Last year, I got a salad bowl that looks like an alien.
This year will be a little different. In one small way, we decided to reduce the glut of Christmas consumerism -- by making everything ourselves. This, we thought, would result in more thoughtful, meaningful gifts, gifts that have been labored over and loved, gifts that will mean so much more than a mini-blender ever could.
That, or we’ll all just get a shitload of Christmas cookies.