Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Second Hand Christmas

A month or two ago I found myself driving through an affluent (i.e. crazy big houses) community in the midst of their community wide garage sale. I am not much into garage sales with all the bargaining and picking through things. People are always so cheery and chatty and I find myself compelled to buy something rather than face that awkward moment of walking away empty handed and conveying that their stuff really is all junk. Which, lets face it, is usually the case.

Which is not to say that I am opposed to putting my own garbage out there for people to pick through and belittle. But that's different. It's humiliation for cash and it's usually going towards a very worthy cause. Like a night at a hotel without my children.

Anyway, all this is to say that I wasn't looking to shop that day but I spotted a couple of Ben sized bikes at one house so I stopped. Ben doesn't have a bike and we were debating whether to purchase him one for Christmas because we weren't sure how much use it would get. There were two bikes, the nicer of which did not have training wheels. The other one did so I asked the man to switch them and he said if I bought one he would throw in the other. So I did. Two bikes for $9. Score! Then a few houses down I saw another brand new Princess Bike. I purchased that one for Clara for $6 and voila, bikes for the Weekids for Christmas for $15. I could feel my adrenaline pumping. A plan was forming.

The next day I sent my husband an instant message (because that's how we talk to each other in this house) that I would be purchasing all the Weekids Christmas gifts used to save us money and the environment. I think he may have done a jig. Since then I have been on a quest. I purchased Ben a used Leapster, case and 6 games for $50 on Ebay. I was so proud of myself I told everyone. Including the woman next to me in toy isle who wanted to know if I could help her decide between a Leapster 2 and Didj for her kid for Christmas. I explained to her that I could not because my kid was getting the old Leapster..."Because, oh my goodness, I got it and a case and 6 games on Ebay for $50." She looked at me strangely, backed away and started in on another woman. Obviously just jealous of my shopping savvy.

Anyway, I have done very well on my mission to have a second hand Christmas. While I did purchase a couple new things, even Brandon's new blackberry like cell-phone thing is pre-owned. Most shopping has been done through ebay, with one repeat of the late night covert Craigs list pick-up. The pièce de résistance of this whole thing is Clara's big gift. Every time she goes down to the basement she plays with the Fisher Price dollhouse Allie received when she was two - 10 years ago. The thing is colored with marker and has TWO peices of furniture and one ratty mama doll. But she loves it. So I went on ebay and for $20 ordered a huge lot of furniture (the same ten year old furniture we once had. In fact it could be ours. I'm not sure what happened to it) and dolls and am cleaning the thing up and giving it to her for Christmas. THat's right folks, I am giving Clara the same dollhouse for her 2-year-old Christmas as I gave Allie for hers. The exact same dollhouse, the one Clara already plays with when she gets to go down stairs. And you know what, I think that's awesome. She's gonna love it.

Next year I just may give her Allie's old kitchen.

By the way Worst Mamas, in case any of you missed it, I am giving away a personalized superhero cape at my place. Deadline for entering is tomorrow.


Chrissy said...

That sounds like an awesome Christmas. Grace just got a second-hand bike from Craigslist for her birthday, and she had no idea it was used. How many more years do you think I could get away with that?

Kyla said...

I think it sounds like GENIUS. You go, girl!

painted maypole said...

most of MQs toys for nearly every gift giving event are used - but I love that you're really making a mission out of it

(another great thing about used stuff... you don't have to cut it free of all the darn packaging on Xmas morning. Or assemble it!)

Laura said...

I love it! Wish I would have thought of that.

Doll Clothes Gal said...

Sounds like great ideas to me - more power to ya!

karen said...

My mom calls this "Recycled Christmas" and it's usually great...BUT sometimes it doesn't go over as planned, particularly in the area of Very Favorite Things.

My sister loved my mother's Chatty Cathy doll and Qq (Kewkew? I was never sure how to spell it) really showed her years of love. Her hair was half shocked, half dredlocked; one eye was pushed in, the other rolled up in her head; her string played messages only a mother might love. One year, my mom spent a long time researching a doll hospital and had Qq repaired for my sister's Christmas present. They fixed her hair and eyes and gave her a wonderful cleaning - she looked like new! When my sister saw the doll, there was a moment of pause...and then a flood of anguished tears. My sister's beloved Qq was gone and the like-new Chatty Cathy my mom remembered from her childhood just wasn't the same.

My advice? Leave the dollhouse exactly as it is - ratty Mama and all - and just add the new furniture. Don't change what Clara already loves...make it more wonderful!

Chaotic Joy said...

OK Karen, I'm crying. But I will Obey. I will leave the marker so Clara can add her own art to Allie's and the ratty (nekkid) mama doll.