How to Have an Ecothrifty Christmas Without Looking Like a Grinch

by: EJ on 12/10/2015

Today's blog for 12 Days of #Giving has very helpful advice from Deborah Niemann, author of Homegrown and Handmade: A Practical Guide to More Self-reliant Living, EcoThrifty:Cheaper, Greener Choices for a Happier, Healthier Life, and Raising Goats Naturally: The Complete Guide to Milk, Meat and More. She is sharing her recipe for spiced pear butter, instructions on how to make your own body scrubs, and festive mason jar candles. 

Photo credit: Joanna Bourne

A century ago, holidays were simply celebrated on the appointed day. Gradually throughout the 20th century, however, December has turned into a huge consumerist event that wreaks havoc on our bank accounts and our waistlines. It doesn’t have to be that way though. You can have an ecothrifty Christmas without looking like the Grinch.

It’s not nice to your pocketbook or the earth to use paper plates to feed a big crowd. Instead, you can purchase lovely sets of dishes — even china — at second hand stores for a very reasonable price. I’ve seen complete sets of china priced for less than the original cost of a single plate.

Making handmade gifts is not only thrifty, it’s also more meaningful. I still have an embroidered pillow case that my mother gave me as a child, and I will probably have it until it is falling off the pillow in shreds. I’m still using the tea cozy that my daughter knitted for me seven years ago. Compare that to cheap plastic crap from China that quickly gets forgotten but won’t decompose in a landfill for centuries.

Photo credit: Tom Head

There is no reason every gift has to have heirloom potential though. We’ve also given and received plenty of food gifts. I really enjoy receiving a box of homemade goodies in the mail far more than a commercially made product that is filled with artificial ingredients and preservatives. You can create gift baskets filled with baked goods, preserves, or other homemade foods. Click here for my recipe for spiced pear butter.

Photo credit: Darin House

If you are in the mood to try something crafty, you can make bath and body products or candles to give away. You probably already have everything you need in your kitchen to make sugar scrub.  Although bath salts can be pricey, making them is really inexpensive. Making homemade candles is easier than you think.  Click here for easy directions to make mason jar candles.  Many companies sell complete kits. 

One of the best things about making gifts is that it is far more rewarding than simply pulling out your credit card. Choose an activity that you enjoy, and in addition to making someone else happy with the gift, you will also enjoy spending time making it.


Deborah's books are part of our holiday sale.  Order them before December 12th and get 50% off on all three.











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