Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Financial Crunch & Merry Christmas

I have been hearing a lot about the impending doom that is about to descend upon this country. Financial institutions may collapse. I'm not sure what that will mean to the working class, if anything, but I am am being as proactive as I can and keeping my thoughts optimistic.


Will my 401K survive? Probably. It's an ebb and flow process that is supposed to ebb and flow. Duh.

So the best we can do is stock up on water, canned food, beans and rice and plan on just waiting this out. Because we don't have a fortune to begin with, I doubt it's going to be that big of a deal to our household.

So, with all that said; Christmas is around the corner and I have been thinking about what my Grandmother who is 92 says: "Recessions are natural. The economy can't just keep getting better and better. " Well, she's been around since before the Great Depression and I guess she should know. Some my happiest times of my life have nothing to do with how much money was in my bank account, and there usually was little to spare.

Which brings me back to: A Homespun Christmas. Are we setting our children up for dissapointement if we can't afford to buy them everything their heart desires? What will the learn and what will they appreciate?

I suggest that we ALL pull together and teach our children about the dangers of excess. Everyone should make some homemade ornaments together with their children. Nothing makes a childs eyes shine like seeing their handi-work on the tree. And nothing is as beautiful.

Take it one step further; Teach your children a craft NOW. Help them make homemade crafts to give family members. Young children can make wonderful macaroni art. Tweens can do leather-crafting. Teenagers can bead and do woodworking.

I'm not suggesting that noone buy their children store bought gifts, but I am suggesting that you empower your child to be ABLE to give from their heart to those they love in a way that is frugal and meaningful. In thier lifetime, they will most likely see another recession. And you have the opportunity to teach them how to make lemonade out of lemons, and rise above the power and influence of the almighty dollar by simply being creative.

Here's how to make bottle cap ornaments;


Here’s what you need:



- cardboard (we used old baking mix and cereal boxes)- glue (Elmers is easier than stick glue)- scissors- bottle caps (if you haven’t saved any, Grape Expectations off of Kilpatrick and 27th sells them in bulk or by the bag)- small beads (we thrifted them. But, PJs has TONS of them)- yarn (easily thrifted)- a hole punch- ribbon



So, what we did was make a template for the tree with our first box and then used it to (roughly) outline the rest of them. I cut all of the trees out (scissors and toddlers are not friends) and the tiny person immediately got on the job of gluing the bottle caps to the trees. Since I wanted to send some of these off for gifts, I decided to give her one tree and a bottle of glue to go to town with, which was an exceptionally messy success and her tree is by far the funkiest and cutest of the bunch.

Also you can use any color bead and spray paint the bottle cap gold or silver... pretty!


After gluing all of the bottle caps down, we proceeded to fill up the caps with white glue, which was totally fun. After that, everyone can jump in to fill the caps with all kinds of cool beads. This also could be very cool with bird seed, rice, pebbles, you get the idea.
Spread the trees out on a flat surface and let them dry overnight.


The next day, if you want (they are totally cute without it), cut enough yarn to outline each tree and then glue it around the edge of the tree for an added accent.
Then, use the hole punch to make a hole in the top of the tree, string a lovely ribbon (or some leftover yarn, twine would be cool too) and voila - the bottle-cap Christmas tree is ready for display on whatever tree for which it is meant.
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