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Sunday, December 03, 2006

A Compact Christmas

Several of you have asked me to post about buying Christmas gifts while doing the Compact. It's really quite simple. Here are my tips:
  • Shop early.
    • It's pretty much impossible to buy used/barter/trade at the last minute. Well, you could, but even Goodwill is pretty picked over by Christmas eve!
    • I've been slowly collecting gifts from consignment stores and thrift stores..and occasionally trading for photography.
  • Always keep an eye out for a gift...even if you aren't specifically shopping for that person.
    • I have found the greatest gifts when I wasn't really looking. Keep a list of all the people that you are shopping for so you can keep track.
  • Keep a gift "box" under your bed or in a closet so that you can have them all in one place.
    • I love this. Anytime I find a cool gift, I just pop it right into my gift box and know that I can forget about it until Christmas! This is a great thing to have year-round...because as birthdays pop up, you can just grab a gift from the box.
  • Don't buy gifts for everyone.
    • I used to do this...because I LOVE giving gifts. But this year, I am limiting it to family and a few close friends. For Bella, we would like to start the tradition of 3 gifts only...representing the 3 gifts the wise men brought Jesus.
  • Homemade is fun.
    • Last year I made cool magnets. It's always cheaper to do something crafty. I usually do a lot of photo-related gifts, especially for the grandparents. I have some crafty things that I am making this year, but I can't reveal it on my blog...that would ruin the surprise!
  • Don't get stressed. The focus is on Jesus, not gifts. The gifts are just a great symbol of what God gave us in His son.
Giving gifts is so much fun for me. I thought about just not doing any gifts this year...but then I realized how much joy I get from seeing someone's face light up. Compacting this Christmas has been enjoyable and easier than I thought! And I am THRILLED to not be out at the malls. Wheeeee!
Photo courtesy of Nathan Gibbs/


Blogger rebecca said...

yeah for homemade gifts....sara, you are one of my most favorite people....hands down....

love you.

12/04/2006 5:35 AM  
Anonymous Danielle said...

I love making homemade gifts! This year I'm making big batches of biscotti to include in some gift baskets and making notecards out of my black and white photography. All I have to do is take them to the printer!

When I was young for a while we did the three gifts (plus a stocking) to represent Jesus' gifts thing and I really liked it. I'd like to do that with my kids from their first Christmas on.

12/04/2006 6:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes! I made every woman and girl in my family sassy waist aprons this year and I covered little 60 cent photo albums with the same material and inserted my favorite recipes for them inside. It's been a blast!
AND we give our kids 3 gifts each year representing "body, soul, spirit". A "body" gift is clothes, or hair things, pj's etc..."soul" is something that they love and "spirit" is something to encourage them in their walk with Jesus...a CD, book, journal, etc, etc.

12/04/2006 9:07 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

I love the body, soul, spirit idea...great stuff!

12/04/2006 9:09 AM  
Blogger Heth said...

I'm loving your last few posts Sare, some great things to think about. We struggle between wanting to keep Christmas really simple and all about Christ, and want to lavishly give gifts to those we love because Christ gave such a lavish gift to us, His very life. It's a fine line.

We have given our kids three gifts the last few years. I absolutely love the body, soul, spirit idea.

12/04/2006 10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful idea for the three gifts! I love to see people reclaiming the spirit of Christmas.

12/04/2006 12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just started reading your posts about the Compact pledge you've been doing. What a great thing to do.

12/04/2006 1:30 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

This all sounds very special!

In a sense, we do three gifts for our kids... one for each girl and one joint gift for both. How sweet to frame it as the "three gifts of the wise men."

I also heard a cool idea on the radio about this family that wraps a gift with a verse inside ("for unto us a child is born..." or "he was wounded for our transgressions"). This is the first gift they open on Christmas, as a family. I like that idea.

12/05/2006 10:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i just want to share a victory with you! You've been inspiring me with your posts lately, and I have heard your voice in side my head when I'm out and about. Just wanted you to know that I just purchased all the "stuff" for a teacher gift basket (A candle, basket, tin for holding tea/coffee, mug, and tissue paper) at a local goodwill for under $10 for 4 teachers. That would have cost me well over $100 in a new store. :)--I will have to buy the foodies new, though :) I've also purchased MOST of my gifts for family and friends this year at Thrift/Used stores, and have doctored them to make them New again. What a great thing you are doing, and what an example for the rest of us. Thanks for your inspriation. It's a blessing.

12/05/2006 11:40 AM  
Anonymous Catherine said...

Dearest Sara,

Would you be willing to write an article/feature about your journey in the compact and about how you and your husband have downsized for Making It Home Magazine? We would love to place this as a feature article...what you have done and continue to do has been so inspiring...I would love to share it with others. If you could contact me at and let me know it is you in the subject line (I don't want to miss your email) I can fill you in or answer any questions you may have.

Thank you for all that you have done is truly a God send for us all!

xoxox Cat

12/06/2006 7:21 AM  
Anonymous Catherine said...

Sara! I just deleted your email and it won't let me pull it back up...I'm so sorry we get so many emails that I tend to get click happy when placing them in or out. Would it be possible to resend?

xoxoxo Cat

12/06/2006 7:44 AM  

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