Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Non-Commercial November

I had a conversation with a friend a few weeks ago about commercialism in North America. It seems that in North America, we do a lot of unnecessary shopping, in comparison to other developed countries. This conclusion was reached after a move to the other side of the world by my friend, and by what she noticed while settling into her new neighbourhood. The number of kids toys that her family owned was well in excess of that of the kids in their new neighbourhood. It seems that where she now lives, children are pretty much only receive toys at Christmas and Birthdays. And the comment was made that there is not nearly as much window shopping or hanging out at the mall as there is in North America. Now, at first I thought she was not thinking clearly with too much blood flow to her head.....I mean she is living upside down now....it could happen. But as I thought about it.....I could not argue that my child alone has enough toys for 4 kids... mostly because of a parent who is a gadget freak. I'm sure in general this happens in North America for the most part just because we can. I'll admit that I have a bad habit of buying things that I don't need immediately. I tend to squirrel things away as I find them on sale. This tactic is OK if you can keep track of your inventory, but really falls apart if you don't keep on top of it.
So in light of this new realization that I purchase too much junk, I've decided to have a non-commercial November. For the month of November, I'll be trying to not purchase anything other than the basics. No new toys for Ike, no hot crafting supplies on clearance. I'm even going to try and use up all the stuff deep down in the bottom of my freezer!
Your probably thinking......"no spending in November with Christmas coming up???"......that's just crazy isn't it! So it I'll be posting my Handmade gift giving suggestions through the month of November to help give you some less expensive options than buying gifts from the store.
To start out with, how about a homemade Salt Scrub? I love these and find no difference in what you buy in the store vs what you can make at home. In fact, I made some last night. This one is so easy it's an ideal gift for kids to make for mom or teacher. You just might want to supervise the addition of the essential oils.

Handmade Gift Idea #1

Salt & Sugar Scrub

1 cup Sea Salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup grape seed oil
1 tsp glycerin
10 drops essential oil or fragrance oil

Mix all together to combine. You can start with less than the recommend amount of oil and add all or more if you feel it's necessary. I've used sugar scrubs before and have a preference for the salt scrub as I think the sugar scrubs dissolve much too quickly. You may want to pulse the sea salt a little in a food processor to reduce the particle size a little bit. Chunks that are too big will just fall away from your hand when you go to use them anyway. You can use coarse pickling salt if you happen to have some of that, and substituting in some Epsom salts will work as well.

The batch I made last night is scented with peppermint for the holidays, and tinted green with some spirulina powder that I had in the cupboard. Once you've finished the mixing then you just need to find a pretty container to put it in...... Something with a well fitting lid so the oil won't leak out. A nice little gift tag, and a bit of ribbon and you're done. Perfect for girlfriends or teachers gifts. Your cost to make this is about $2, compared to $8 for the store bought version.

What kinds of things has your family tried for a Handmade Holiday Gift?? Leave a comment......I'd love to hear your ideas.


Lesley said...

This looks amazing! I'm such a fan of indulgent bathroom goods. (I'm adding all your ingredients to my shopping list today!)
Do you know - Does this have to be used in a certain time??
Thanks for the great idea.

LittleRed said...

From what I've read, I think 6-8 months....but mine never lasts that long.

Alison said...

Hey, good luck with your non commercial November. Maybe for me, it's just that I haven't hit Auckland yet. I will not lie, I had to undergo some "retail therapy" after my sister left to combat the blues . . . but it was mainly work clothes!

Yarni Gras! said...

hmmmmm. I make bath salts too. I also sew and crochet so I make aprons, pjs, reading pillows, scarves.......the list goes on and on. I'm a BIG fan of handmade gifts. I personally think they are the best gifts of all.