Thursday, December 1, 2011

Twelve Days of Prepping

This time of year can be very difficult for those of us who are a little ... well, offended ... by the wanton consumerism and wastefulness of the "Holiday Season." It's not so much that I mind the garish decorations (the lights are pretty ... until I think of all of the electricity they are unnecessarily consuming) or blatant commercialism, but rather it's how unneccessary it all is. I mean, most of the people I know have everything they could possibly need, and most of what they want ... and even a few things they didn't know they wanted until they had them. The question I almost always end up asking is "what do I buy for someone who has everything?" because even those of us who don't think we are so fortunate have more than we "need", and in spite of Madonna's assertion sometimes "nothing" is better than "more" - literally (especially when more means we need to find someplace to store it ;).

Every year, I end up in the balancing act of not wanting to disappoint my family while also not wanting to add to the clutter of holiday's past that fills every nook and cranny in every room of our "large-by-global-standards", smaller-than-typical suburban home. Unfortunately, our world is such that when it comes to this time of year, we have very few choices.

We can don our hat of moral superiority and when asked about our druthers for holiday gifts state boldly that we don't celebrate and wish for nothing and plan to gift nothing either. So, there! And if we have the kind of leathery skin one needs when one is so strongly pushing against the cultural tides, epithets like "Scrooge" that will inevitably be lodged in our direction, won't bother us. Just don't look 'em in the eye, because while they may say nothing, the disappointment on those little faces will rip the heart right out of even the most staunch holiday-hater.

Or, we can succumb to the fervor of the holiday and join the mob mentality as we rush to all of the holiday sales, pull out the plastic or over draft our bank accounts (oh, I still have checks, and therefore, I must still have money!), ensuring that every single little bright eyed doll-faced cherub in our lives smiles broadly and brightly as s/he rips into, yet, another cheerily wrapped box of uselessness that seems to have become the norm on most traditional gift-giving days. As winter is the literal "death of the year" (in the sense that "life" in general is usually dormant), no one will be too worried when we slip into the inevitable post-holiday buyer's-regret depression, and we can wallow in our self-deprecating stupor as we wonder how we'll pay for our extravagance.

Thankfully, those aren't the only two options. There's a third, and it might involve some shopping (as with all things, the key is moderation :), it will definitely require some thinking about stuff, and it might involve the need to be creative.

I'm not a crafty person, in general. I've made some interesting costumes and altered some clothes - for fun. I enjoy making baskets - when I have time. I knit, but only enough to make dishcloths, and really, how many dishcloths can one give before the receiver starts putting that gift in the Yankee Swap (kind of like the infamous tie for Dad in days-gone-by)?

I also believe that things are definitely changing. I don't know that there will ever be the "catastrophic end" we, preppers, like to imagine, but I do look at world events, and I can see that there will be a lot of us who will be living differently in the years to come. Some of that change, I believe, will mean that we'll need to do more for ourselves than we are currently doing.

With that in mind, my daughters and I have been discussing potential gifts for the "Twelve Days of Prepping", and the plan is to post an item each day that might be useful to those with a prepper mindset ... or for those people in one's life who aren't prepper-minded as a way to help them prep without them realizing that they're prepping ;).

It should be fun, and if you're in my family ... close your eyes ;).


  1. What an excellent idea...I'll be watching for each one! (I might "gift" some of them to myself this Christmas ;)

  2. My only nitpick is that, if your twelve days are supposed to coincide with the Twelve Days of Christmas, that's from December 25th to January 5th. :P

    We're Scrooges. I'm getting a LOT of heat from our family because we're not taking part in the craziness. I don't like "duty" invitations to dinner any more than I like "duty" gifts.

  3. I'm looking for a tactful way to deflect people who want to shower my kids in useless crap. Such an irksome time of year in that respect. Otherwise, I'm all about the handmade. Lots of people are getting Bezzie cookies, jam, and knitted goods! Ha ha!

  4. Love this idea!

    Was reading a book today that made me think of your family - have you read The Art of Eating In yet? Her chapter about urban foraging reminded me of your trip a while back.

  5. We are all about handmade over here. I have been trying to convince the many family members we have, that a 3 and 1 year old REALLY DON'T NEED MUCH. Unfortunately it falls on deaf ears, or people get really ticked off at us because we are stealing their joy or something like that :-) This year I tried to ask for a large present for the kids, so that they are still buying something, but it is only one thing, and hopefully of better quality that 20 little presents. It doesn't help that everyone expects a "thank you" out of the 3 year old, and honestly, after the first 2 presents she is done and wants to go play with her cousins :-)

  6. Two things you can never have enough of: books and delicious, homemade food.

    It's getting to the point where people are asking us what we want for Christmas and we're like "... Bookshelves?" I did get a cool sweater cape from my mom as an early Christmas present. And my mom-in-law got me a second-hand accordion. I got both of them really neat vintage dishes that fit in with their interests. I'm asking the boyfriend/future husband to build me a sweater drying rack for Christmas so I can properly wash and dry his numerous wool sweaters (and mine).

    If anyone else asks what I want for Christmas I'm going to request knitting lessons or the money to fix my vintage sewing machine. Or buy fabric. :D But really, if I get money, I will probably use it to live on. :(

  7. My family has gotten to where we just bring edibles, consumables, homemade, inexpensive, but nothing that hits a credit card. So, in these post-boyfriend days, Christmas is easy-peasy and low stress. Yeah!

    brenda from arkansas