Will Santa be leaving second-hand goodies under your tree this year? He will at our house. Our Santa always shops at Goodwill.
We’ve been coming up with creative handmade gifts, and picking out the gems out the toy shelves at Goodwill and our local thrift stores, as long as I’ve had kids. This year, we’ve got more competition than usual. A lot of families have been hit by the recession, and they’re resorting to used gifts to make ends meet.
Will this recession change Christmas for good?
Of course I mean that both ways. Will it be a good thing if we all make the holiday less about buying the hot new toy and more about giving a small gesture of our love and appreciation for our family & friends? And, will this shift towards giving used toys instead of only new ones continue when our paychecks have bounced back from the recession?
I suspect a lot of people will return to more lavish new purchases after they return to gainful employment. Not everyone will, though. For some, the frugal habits they adopt during this lean season will last a lifetime. For my kids, at least, the packaging doesn’t matter. They want pretty wrapping paper and exciting, new-to-them playthings. They love feeling pampered and loved on Christmas morning. They really don’t care if I bought their bedazzled new jeans at Goodwill or the Gap.
I’m not a Grinch who hates all holiday shopping. In a consumer driven economy, Christmas shopping does do good. It keeps retail businesses afloat. My parents own a music shop and do almost a quarter of their annual sales in December. Shopping locally during the holiday season really helps out small shops like theirs. When I do buy new gifts, I try to buy quality items from local stores or websites devoted to a good cause. I purchase the occasional indulgence, too. There’s nothing altruistic about the electric tea-kettle I bought my husband. I just want to see his face light up when he opens it.
Most of our gifts don’t come in new packages, though. They’re either handmade at home, bought from local craft fairs or the local thrift stores. I dropped more cash on my kids for Christmas this year than I ever have before, but it wasn’t to pay for fancy packaged toys. Instead I wrote a large check to our local animal rescue society for two kittens.