Our Frugal Christmas Preparations

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…. said Holly and Teddy!

Yes folks. It is that time of the year again.  The season to be jolly and all that yuletide stuff.

Today we put up the tree and decorated it with festive baubles and garland that we usually store in the shed.  We haven’t bought decorations or a new tree for about 10 years, as the old ones do us fine.

We also don’t believe in cutting down a perfectly good tree just for a few weeks of the year.  Most real christmas trees are thrown away in the new year to landfill, which is quite a shame.  Not only are they cut which prevents them from sequestering carbon dioxide, they also turn into methane when rotting in landfill.  Not a very pretty part of christmas as far as I am concerned.

All of our christmas lighting is LED, which is very low wattage.  I worked out that our tree lights take 11 watts to run, which is about the same as a single CFL bulb.  Very energy efficient.  Also, I am not one to string up thousands of lights all over the outside of my house, just to light up the street and watch my electricity meter spin out of control.  Imagine how much coal is being burnt to light up all those homes here in Victoria.  Such excess.

Another cool thing that we do each year is make our own christmas cards.  Kim has been very busy upcycling old christmas cards and making new ones out of them.  Each year she keeps all the cards that were sent to us and puts them away for the next season.  Then in a mad frenzy about two weeks before Christmas Day, she gets out bits of old plain card, fabric, glitter pens, and all sorts of crafty stuff, then gets to work.

It is a bit like Santa’s workshop when she gets her card mojo on.

Here is a sample of her handy work.  I think they are brilliant creations, and much better than the expensive ones that you can buy.  Besides, they are all made with love.

Hopefully none of the recipients are reading, but if you are, sorry if I spoiled the surprise.  The cards are on their way, so you will have them soon.

Anyway, other than the tree, lights, and a few decorations around our home, it looks quite normal around here.  Lots of activities like gardening, writing, brewing, and cleaning taking place, with the odd barbeque lunch and swim thrown in as well.  I am take a couple of weeks annual leave starting on Thursday afternoon. Yippee!

We are looking forward to a quiet christmas, as it will be just Kim, Ben, me, and the dogs.  All the older kids are off doing their own thing this year.  We will miss them dearly.

For christmas dinner, we are cooking an organic free range chicken with sage stuffing, and vegetables from the garden. Roasted potatoes, onions, and carrots with steamed, silverbeet, cabbage, and broad beans.  Oh, and maybe a few yorkshire puddings as well with homemade gravy.  Delicious home grown and cooks food, all washed down with lots of home brewed beer!  Any leftovers will be consumed cold on Boxing day, as is the tradition.

So dear reader, I know that I am a week and a bit early, but I wish you all a safe and merry Christmas!

May it be one where spending is well under control, and consumption is not excessive, and the 3R’s are king.  Recycle all that you can, and enjoy the company of those that you are with.

Gavin, Kim, and Ben xxx


  1. says

    Have a great Christmas, Gav.

    We’re making gifts for friends and family this year, since my wife has scaled back her working hours and has the time for it. She’s made Christmas puddings, cakes, gingerbread men, mince pies, almond bread, and biscuits. We’re also planning some chutney, pickles and onion jam. I’ve made home brewed beer and ginger beer. I’m also making small crates to pack the presents in, from salvaged timber pallets.

    One of our local service clubs sets up a chipper on the main street after Christmas, and people can bring their Christmas trees down to be turned into mulch. I think think they then sell the mulch to raise money for charity. It’s better than going to landfill, but the whole live tree thing still seems a waste of money to me.

    A better idea I’ve seen people do is to grow a Christmas tree in a pot (often a Wollemi pine, or other conifer) and bring it inside for the Christmas period. Then it goes back outside to recover, and is ready to be used again next year.

  2. says

    Sounds like a wonderful Christmas to me. We haven’t yet got any decorations up, nor a tree. We’ll cut down and pot up some of the cedar branches of the ginormous cedars across the creek from us. They won’t miss a few branches I’m sure. :) The spent branches after Xmas will then adorn the woodpile until the weather cools sufficiently for a fire (which could be any day given the screwy weather we’ve already had this year) so it’s a no waste eco solution for us. If that fails then we have a plastic tree bought back in 1975 (presumably) when my parents were first married. I figure that it’s a pretty good eco deal if it’s lasted this long. :)
    We too have been making gifts when we have been able. If not we’ve tried hard, through numerous discussions with parents to find gifts that are suitable and will be educational and appreciated. I think we’ve done ok.
    Our kids will get a small something from Santa and then a large experience gift from us. Nothing to play with and break and no plastic BUT a memory to last a lifetime. Gifts for friends are homemade, mostly upcycled and best of all for my hip pocket, have cost practically nothing but a little time and then lots of clean-up effort. lol
    Enjoy your well deserved break.

  3. says

    Gavin, thanks for all your wonderful inspiring and regular updates and I look forward to more hearing more from GoG next year. I have to say that Teddy is the cutest dog ever, even without his little hat! serendipity2000

    • says

      Thanks Kathleen for dropping by regularly during the year!

      Lots more to do and write about, as well as many more Teddy & Holly shenanigans.

      All the best to you and Chris in the new year

      Gav x

  4. says

    Hi Gavin, Kim and Ben. Have a wonderful and very happy and frugal Christmas. Lovely cards Kim what an amazing woman you are. Thank you all for the inspiration you have shared with us over the past year.


  5. says

    Merry frugal Christmas to you and your family Gavin! I don’t do any decorations, there are plenty in public places, I liked your thoughts about trees and excessive lights! Kim’s cards are lovely too (I just send emails!).

  6. says

    I wouldnt expect any different Gav. Thoughtful, festive, frugal & fun. Now that is a good Christmas. Ive not been home with my family for Christmas for about ten years and so have missed not only the big family Christmas i love but also the family traditional Christmas pud. It is so so good. Well this year is different. My sister is down and she has the recipe. It hasnt had months to age but im sure it will still taste great. From memory it is even better cold for days after (it doesnt last longer than than. So she had better get cooking. I hope you all enjoy your vacation from work.

    • says

      Hi Lynda. I love traditional Christmas pud, but alas, no one else does so we don’t make one. It does taste wonderful when cold on Boxing day with brandy custard.

      See you soon. x

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