Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A New Tradition

For the most part, I have completely curbed all frivolous spending at the grocery store (I need to write a post about some of my new strategies for saving money while still purchasing primarily organic). But this past weekend I found myself standing in front of a display at Whole Foods (Henry was eating a piece of their free Kids' Club fruit), longing for a beautiful, handcrafted Christmas ornament. They were $5.99 and proceeds go to an international charity. In particular, I was struck by an ornament that reminded me of Henry's classroom at his Montessori school. It seemed like the perfect way to commemorate this year for him.

I've already decided to start purchasing ornaments when we go on family vacations in order to commemorate our trips together, but I also thought it would be fun to get each child one ornament a year to celebrate something about the year (or to help them make an ornament when they're older). I decided to attach one of these tags to each ornament to label it with the year and a brief explanation. That way, when we unpack our ornaments each year and decorate our tree, we'll get to reminisce. 

I stood--paralyzed with indecision--for a good long time at Whole Foods (Henry was content to chow down on his banana). I wanted to make sure I was okay spending $5.99 in the middle of our major spending hiatus, especially when we need to save our money to spend on gifts for other people and plane tickets to see family for the holidays. I brainstormed ways to make the ornament instead of purchase it, but in the end I decided that I might end up spending close to $6 on supplies and that if I decided to handcraft it, I might not have the motivation to do it this year. My energy is at a premium right now as I go into my third week of being sick and I battle the general exhaustion of the first trimester.

As for Christmas presents, we're working slowly and steadily to acquire them. Ever since reading Kelsey's post about getting an early start on Christmas, we've been following suit. We might as well get our shopping/making done now and save ourselves the stress. Henry and I finished making our own wrapping paper, so we're ready to start wrapping!

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Carrie said...

We received an ornament every single year from my parents, up through college. I proudly display all 22 of them on our tree every year. This is a very special idea for Henry. Cut the $5.99 + tax out of some other area this month, and go for it, guilt-free.

Anthropolochic said...

My husband and I collect something that can be an ornament every time we travel. We have a special ornament representing our wedding (a toaster, because we held a brunch)...along with tree ends. We've spent a lot of time in Atlanta this year, so we have a little whale shark figurine for the tree this year (as the Georgia aquarium is one of the few locations with these animals in captivity and it was really amazing to see them). We too are expecting a little one, and we adopt ornaments for her as the years go by too.

I love doing this, but I have to honest - I'm running out of room :) We have a pretty small apartment. Still, the tradition is important to us - so we will just have to get smaller ornaments as the years go on.

We've had a few financially challenging years where we debate whether or not we should buy something for the tree. Fact is, our ornaments are always really inexpensive (certainly under $20), but those little costs can really matter when you are playing around with a two digit discretionary budget...so some years, we make the ornament. It helps me to not have a goal for what the ornament will represent because when we make them, we are limited to what is already available in the house.

In anycase - this is a very long way of saying I love this idea and agree with the person above. Cut the cash out of some other budget area and enjoy your ornament. If you find a nice compact way to store them all, please share.

BB said...

I love sentimental ornaments! I use a lot of things that shouldn't be ornaments, like a hotel key or a piece of a report card, and I write a lot on them.

I have a set of girlfriends who started having a crafting party instead of a cookie exchange. It's great fun. We pool crafting supplies and make cards and some ornaments, sometimes with little letters tucked in. Once we had kids, they made stuff too! If you have a crafty friend, that could be fun!

Kristy said...

I agree - Ornaments are a wonderful tradition. Like Carrie, my parents got me and my siblings an ornament for every year and put our name and the year on them. It gave my husband and I a great start on ornaments when we got our own tree and we've continued on the tradition with our boys.

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