December & Holiday Purchase Recap!

Happy Friday!! Only two more days left of the year – are you ready to tackle 2018?! I have to say this year was amazing and I feel like I’ve grown so much as a person but I’ll be saving my look back for another day. Today I’m sharing my last and final purchase recap, and post, for 2017!

December as to be expected had way more purchases than any other month in the year. Not just because of the presents, but also because there’s something about thinking about shopping that creates a heightened alertness & desire for stuff. Suddenly everything that may have crossed my mind over the entire year was coming to mind or catching my attention. My strategy for avoiding shopping is to stay away from things that trigger the desire to shop and lawdy, Christmas is just the opposite of that! But I still stuck within my goals and really the things purchased have already been put to good use. We continued to spend the month weeding out more stuff so as the holiday rolled around we were better able to accommodate the new additions to our life!

As for Christmas, I ended up getting into the spirit for the betterment of everyone we love and care about. I basically just approached the holidays with the mindset that I wouldn’t do anything just because I felt like I had to but instead chose to do what brought me joy. For instance, I was going to make cookies for some extended family members and neighbors. When I decided I didn’t really want to do that (I have a really hard time taking the time to make something that people don’t need), I simply purchased goodies from bulk instead and decided I could send cards to my neighbors! Chocolate covered pretzels, garlic sesame pretzels and bulk lotion were a few of the goodies given. When headed out to go shopping I reminded myself that I wanted to get my loved ones unique, local gifts if I felt frantic from the extra errands on my to-do list. Determined to not let things stress me out, I went into the weekend planning to take everything as it came while enjoying the moment. All in all it ended up being a great holiday. Hubs and I don’t normally exchange gifts and we opted not to do Santa with teenie this year since we knew she’d be getting plenty of things from friends & family. By doing this the holiday wasn’t overwhelming and it felt good to know they were able to enjoy giving to her. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve already read about how appreciative I was of them honoring my wishes and taking my goals into consideration when selecting and wrapping gifts for us and I’m hoping this midway point was equally received by all.  At the risk of sounding ooey-gooey, spending more time being present and trying to soak in every moment with the one’s I care about most who remain on this earth truly made it the better than any holiday I’ve ever had before.

I tried to keep things simple and stick within my goals of used unless sustainable or helped reduce waste while selecting items based on what was on lists, aligned with their interests or fell into the category of something they’d most definitely use (you know, like booze lol). Here are the things we got:

1 – New copy of Magnifeco from a local bookstore.

2 – Several used books from another local bookstore, one being written by a local author.

3 – Locally made sleep serum in a glass bottle.

4 – Package free soaps purchased at my local market.

5 – Gift certificates for playtime at a air sports park for my nephews.

6 – The gift of groceries at Whole Foods.

7 – Locally made beard balm.

8 – Reusable snack and sandwich bag, both made locally and purchased from local markets.

10 – Bath bomb that was purchased package free from Lush, brought home in a reusable bag and placed in a box that once house a wireless mouse.

11. Ethically made slippers (purchased at Whole Foods).

12. Locally distilled vodka.

13. Homemade deer jerky in a secondhand jar.

14. Thrifted sweater.

15. Handmade necklaces using a rocks found on the beach at my family river cottage. Wire purchased new but chains used were already in my closet.

16. (not shown) Refurbished handmade gift that had been given to my Grandma back when I was young but had broken and given to me. I put it back together and gave it back to her with an added touch!

15. (not shown) Re-gifted cards to shop or dine at establishments we never go to.

16. (not shown) “Pirate’s chest” (found secondhand) filled with silver dollars – totally my husband’s genius idea!

Another gift not shown was a lumbar car seat support which was the only online purchase, with regards to the holidays, this year! 🙂  While not necessarily made of sustainable materials, it’s something that would have been bought by the recipient (my husband’s grandmother) if we hadn’t and anything that helps to keep our elders in tip top shape so they can go about living life independently as long as possible is worth totally it.

Only that which I had from past Christmases, saved from the trash or stuff that was repurposed was using in wrapping gifts this year! It was really fun decorating and finding creative ways to flip everyday single use items into fun wrapping alternatives. Many of the tags were swaps obtained during an alternative wrapping paper party! 🙂

We also have several birthdays during the month of December so we tried to stick within the same goals for those as well with gifts such as movie tickets, gift card to a hair salon and handwoven slippers made with recycled and natural materials.

As for our little family of three, while we don’t exchange gifts we still ended up getting little things for each other this month.

For the hubs: Locally made sandwich bag (above). I kind of bought this sandwich bag as an impulse gift at a local maker market with no clear receiver in mind. After talking about it my husband he was like “you know who you should give it to: me.” He’d been wanting a sandwich bag for a while because he hated using the bulky glass containers for stuff like sandwiches so that ended up being the perfect purchase for him. 🙂

For me: Hand Woven Wall Hang. I’d been lusting for months over these beautifully handmade weavings made locally by fellow dietitian (who also went to the same random college as me BTW and worked at one of the same hospitals for a short period of time). One day I was looking at her pics and came across this beautiful yellow weaving and being in that heightened state of desire, I sent a pic (and link) to my husband to show him my obsession. My thought was I’d buy it after the first of the year but he ended up getting it for me as a surprise (love that man). Funny enough I actually figured it out myself because I’d had the shop page open in Safari when I noticed the inventory changed to sold out. The cool thing about figuring it out was it allowed me to both avoid shipping while also having a great excuse to meet the wonderful new friend who made it!

For teenie: Over the course of the month she acquired a book, a child sized guitar (like a legit guitar) and kite…all secondhand!! The lover of health science in me snatched up the bones book while we were shopping for some secondhand gifts at a local bookstore. As for the guitar, this is not something you exactly come across every day and I knew my husband would eventually want one for my daughter because he loves to play and she also likes to strum the strings. This was definitely one of those strike while the iron is hot sort of situations and has replaced a plastic one that played music which will be donated or sold. It just needs to be restrung but for now she’s doing just fine with two. With the kite, earlier this year when we were at the beach I wanted to get a kite to fly on the beach but observing my “avoid new unless necessary” rule I was determined to find one used. I’d checked several kite shops but none had secondhand ones to sell. I’d forgotten all about it until I ran across this baby – hadn’t ever been opened! Excited that now we’ll have this to fly in the spring and summer.

As for everything else….

1 box chalk – used

1 mini chalkboard – thrifted new

2 pieces scrap fabric – used

2 spools thread – used

2 jars – used

1 star silicone tray – used

1 metal stackable shelf – used

1 stocking hook – used

1 weekly planner – new handmade in NC

The jars were going to be used for gifts but never were. The scrap fabric was made into cloth napkins, using the secondhand thread and the chalk board has already come in handy for writing notes to the hubs and teenie doodles. 🙂 I’d been looking for one that could be used to turn crayon scraps into new and I happened to find one at the thrift store in the shape of stars (how perfect) for $0.25!! The tray says water only but I’ve seen others use these molds for the same project so I’m hoping it works. The stackable shelf ended up being the final piece in helping me get my closet where I want it (stay tuned for more on that) and the stocking hook was because we didn’t have a third one for teenie this year so I grabbed a secondhand one while I could. The planner was bought to be used in the new year!!

We had to buy a few other things to fix stuff around the house – wood, a rubber sink barrier, windshield wiper motor. Oh and we kind of bought a car…without going too far into it we basically had two old cars, one requiring a lot of maintenance and repairs to keep it safely on the road. Instead of risking both cars having expensive unexpected repairs at once, that maybe we should replace one with a newer (still used) version. The downside? Car payments and of course the turning over of an older used vehicle. Hopefully it will end up going to a good home with someone who will get lots of good use out of it (yes we still own it…). The upside? Greater fuel efficiency (by downsizing from an SUV to a crossover) and a more reliable vehicle for the time being.  Unfortunately we don’t live in a spot where I can walk or ride our bike anywhere, at least safely (particularly with my toddler in tow) so we have to have cars to get around. And if there is one thing that ranks high on my priority list, its getting around on the roads safely.

If there was one thing that definitely was not purchased it was clothing or accessories, rounding out the final month of my closet fast! 12 whole months without bringing in any clothes or accessories into my life! I’m so excited to say that my family honored this at Christmas and did not give me any as gifts as well.

So that’s that. December in a nutshell. 🙂 I don’t foresee too many more purchases over these next couple of days except possibly some plants (I’m really itching to add more greenery around here) and a hook to hang the macrame plant hanger I got for Christmas!

I hope you have a wonderful and safe time bringing in the New Year!! I’ll be back next week for a look back at a fun-filled 2017, talk about the changes made within our home, my closet and our lives! As always thank you for coming by – it means a lot to have others sharing in this adventure with me. 🙂

xo, Erica

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