Saturday, 2 January 2010

Who Got a Foot Spa for Christmas?

I did a survey down the local car boot sale just before Christmas.
Here's what I found:
7 foot spas (there was also one on freebleayr one on Cheapcycle and one in a nearby charity shop.)
5 slow cookers (NB Tesco, across the car park was selling these on special for a lot more money...) There was also one on Cheapcycle.
3 vegetable steamers .
...And a partridge in a pear tree?? Please note - this is no reflection on the actual foot spas, slow cookers etc. I have a slow cooker (got second hand) and I love it.
But get this: I have checked AND IT IS TRUE. Practically everything I had have bought new could have been got down the car boot sale. Felt a bit sick when I realised it.

Why are we spending money on new foot spas and slow cookers when you can get a perfectly good one for £5? Could it be partly because it is not seen as 'proper' to give a second hand one for Christmas?

Do we also feel is it not good enough to make a gift, give something we no longer need ourselves, or give a gift of time, as it may make us seem mean?
We don't want to be mean, so we buy the new one. We are less well off as a result and the poor old foot spa goes into land fill.
Here's another take on it. Imagine the new one costs £20 and the second hand one £5. Get the second hand one. Then either:
  • donate the £15 to a charity and get one of those nice cards for the recipient to say what you did (chicken in 3rd world etc)
  • get your dear friend, lover ect a second gift for £15 and enclose a note saying why you were so generous.
  • Get this second gift down the car boot sale for £5 and get them three additional gifts with the remaining money...we could go on forever here and your friend is now embarassed because you are being over generous!
  • Agree with your friend that you will both buy only second hand gifts and put a limit on it of £5. This is a great idea if your friend is hard up as it takes the pressure off them. If they are the hard up one, they will never be the one to suggest it - it has to come from you.

The most fun we had with a group of friends one year was when we all agreed we would not spend more than £1 on each other. We got the most amazing gifts. It was almost as if because it was just £1 we didn't care as much and it made us Creative and Daring. The hit of the day was a pair of psychedelic orange and pink long johns bought (still in packet) in a charity shop for a gardening friend. they were meant to be a joke actually but he thought they were great!

Then there was the Bird Bower Year. We had bought these fetching little birdie resting places from the RSPB. To make it more fun, we took them out of the packs of 3 and wrapped them individually. I got a bit carried away and in the end there were 9 little packets for my folks. On Chrismas day, Dad opened a gift from my Aunt and there was...a bird bower. Then another And another. Turned out she had done the same thing. We were all opening bird bowers for simply ages.

We ended up hysterical with laughter and it gets talked about yet. In fact you only have to mention the words Bird Bower in our family to cause helpless giggling, completely incomprehensible to outsiders and, presumably, the RSPB who produced this laudable product. My Dad had one on every fence post for many a year and each time I sat in the conservatory and looked out it made me smile.

The last Bird Bower fell from our eaves a few weeks ago (sob). And I realised it must have been at least 6 years since that Christmas. (built to last these bird bowers but I don't think a bird ever went in).

so be daring and remember it's the people who make money out of Christmas who want us to spend money at Christmas.

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