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The Buy Nothing *New* For the Holidays Challenge!

The Buy Nothing New For The Holidays Challenge!


A month ago, I was remarking via Facebook and Twitter that I was aghast by the number of “buy green for the holidays” press releases I’d already started receiving in my email box.  I mentioned the idea of a “buy nothing for the holidays” challenge, and it sparked a good deal of interest.  Crunchy mentioned to me that she had something in store, and soon released her “Buy Hand for the Holidays” challenge.  Awesome!

But… I was looking for something a little different, a little more.  I am working my butt off in my new business and unfortunately I don’t have time to make much in the way of gifts.  Yet – I don’t want to ruin Christmas for those who like to give or receive gifts, so I don’t want to stop the gift-giving completely.  Besides, a really thoughtful gift can mean a great deal to both giver and receiver.  I like the good that can bring to the world.

Alrighty then, here you have it – let’s challenge ourselves not to buy anything NEW.

What Does That Mean?

1.  You can make handmade gifts (and I highly encourage you to make them out of things you don’t have to buy new – collages, scarves and mittens made out of re-sold or traded yarn, napkins made out of old sheets or scrap pieces, canned sauces or dried herbs from the garden, old furniture refurbished to look like new, etc).

2.  You can buy from a thrift store, resale shop, or anywhere that sells or gives away used items (like a beautiful first-edition copy of your mom’s favorite book, an awesome game you used to play as kids, a vintage handbag, an irresistible shawl, a tricycle, almost anything you can think of giving comes in used versions!)

3.  You can give non-material things (like kisses and hugs, help painting the porch, setting up dad’s computer, babysitting for a parents’ night out, a coupon for a candlelight dinner for two at home, donating to a charity in the recipient’s name, or something else creative).

4.  You can give things from your home (like an old, meaningful piece of clothing, a book dear to your heart, a vase or picture frame you love but doesn’t fit in your home anymore, a relic from an old trip, etc).

5.  You can give things from your garden (like propagated perennial herbs or ornamental plant starts, saved seeds, flowers, holly berries, nuts, citrus fruits, veggie starts, etc).

Why Do It?

  1. Why not? Does anyone you know really need more stuff?
  2. It means more, because the gift is more unique (and because maybe you searched for something to give that meant something to you)
  3. It doesn’t support corporations whose values you don’t agree with
  4. It doesn’t put unnecessary stuff out into the world
  5. It lowers the carbon footprint of your gifts
  6. It saves money


Some Resources:

(*Note TisBest is a client of mine, but I just think they’re cool – I get nothing from telling you about them!)


Shout It Out, Spread The Word!


If you’d like to spread the word about this challenge, please do!  Pick a doodad below to put on your blog, or you can click on the images to download a larger size.


The Buy Nothing New For The Holidays Challenge! The Buy Nothing New For The Holidays Challenge!

Sign Up Now – Join Us!

I remember when I was a little kid nobody talked about holiday shopping until after Thanksgiving – well, not anymore – it’s not even Halloween yet but the decorations are up and the malls are packed! So before you succumb to the peer pressure, sign up for the challenge and stay true to your values this holiday season!

And please feel free to share resources and ideas when you sign up below!

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15 comments to The Buy Nothing *New* For the Holidays Challenge!

  • Count me in.

    I did purchase something “new”–handmade/repurposed –when I met the craftswoman at a fair (and knew the jewelry pin would be perfect for my mother). Oh–and the homemade pottery banjo magnet for my banjo-playing brother…. But no more from now on.

    Heifer is an all time favorite source for donation gifts! I highly recommend it.

  • Sign me up! I’ve done hand made or used for years. Much more fun. I’d add antique stores/malls to your list. We have a lot of fun little shops plus a big antique mall that are great for finding fun used things and that are generally reasonably priced.

  • My first reaction was I can’t do this. If I sign up I will fail miserably. I had been thinking about taking a year long buy nothing new (except food) challenge in 2010. The fact is I am just afraid of failure, but I think I can do it.

    For our youngest we had already planned on buying her a used Nintendo DS Lite (we have one set aside at a resale game shop where DH knows the manager). And I was thinking about buying a used Digital Point and Shoot for A, but if we cannot find a decent one, I may have to buy that new. And that handles the Santa gifts.

    As for our gift to the girls, I have some items I bought in years past and stockpiled for S. A I did just buy her some new measuring tools, but perhaps a trip to the Thrift store will aid in getting her more materials. Maybe I can make her a chef’s hat and apron. I want to try my hand at making both the girls a reading pillow (the kind you sit up in bed with to read). I have one and they love it.

    DH and I don’t exchange gifts, although this year I would like to give him a coupon book, because we need to make more time to spend with each other. Oh and I am knitting him a scarf.

    That leaves my parents, and in laws.

    For my Mum – I actually already have a set of Candles (vanilla) for her. I bought them on clearance last year after Christmas. Then of course I could knit her a scarf and hat.

    For my Dad – he’s a bit tougher. I tend to buy him tools, or photography equipment. Maybe I can make him a new background. I could buy a sheet at the Thrift Store and turn it into a background. If all else fails I could knit him a hat and scarf.

    For my Mother-in-Law? That is one I am stumped with, but I am stumped with what to buy her as well so I will just have to think on that.

    For her husband, I am also always equally stumped for him.

    For my Father-in-Law: I regift (I know some people think its taky). Each year one of the Servicers I use through the year, sends me a lovely gourmet basket – It perfect for DH’s dad and we don’t eat that sort of stuff.

    For his wife: Something to do with Loons, but maybe this year just a lovely scarf and hat in her favorite color, and then each of the girls can make her something.

    For his Brothers:

    Joey: He makes more money than we do, is single and has everything he needs. So I think the girls will make him something, and then I will make a sweets basket with a scarf and hat for him.

    Billy: Is an 13 year old boy, not sure what to get him either, so again I think the girls will make him something and I will probably do a hat and scarf for him.

    That really takes care of everyone. We have several friends that we exchange with, but I was already thinking that I should do up sweet baskets for them, so that is what I am going to do.

    I am in, I will let you know if I fail miserably :)

  • I love this idea. I have been a proponent of hand-made and non-material gifts for the last few years. We all agree we have plenty of “stuff.” I’ve been canning my garden bounty the last few weeks and have lots of salsa and mustard to give as gifts. I also plan to do a lot of knitted gifts again this year, but am keeping it simple with toys/ornaments for the nieces and nephews.

  • Count me in! Christmas has gotten sooo out of hand. Thank you for the great idea!

  • Cath

    I don’t have a blog but I’ll join – was thinking about this yesterday.

    Cath in Sydney

  • Ah, too late for me, unfortunately. I admit that I’m already done with the kids – hit the sales (at new & resale shops) for summer clothes and new shoes, and each got a new toy. Dd got a dance DVD, and Ds got a car mat.

    I’m still trying to consider what to get for family members. I’d love to do this, but I’m wondering how much time is left after work, kids, chores, and the inevitable flu! :-)

  • Rob

    Don’t know that I will sign up foerthis one love. Although I am in the Crunchy Buy Hand Challenge most thiongs I give are homemade, and this year giving one of my turkey fryer burners to a friend who brews his own beer. LOL I don’t need two fryers anyway. And I am “remaking” clocks- one or two of them are old clocks I had sitting around, and 1 was bought at the “AS-IS” department at IKEA

  • Yeah – I think I’m going to be doing this. Sorry to not sound more solid about it – it is and has been my plan for a while. Financially, it’s pretty much going to be impossible to buy anything new – so motivating, huh?! LOL!

    I’m doing LOTS of knitting! Of course, I’ve been sick pretty much since April, so I’ve got lots of time to do so.

    Great idea, Melinda!

  • So glad to see some people joining me! No worries, there is no failure here – we will all do the best we can!! And Cath – no need to have a blog to join – welcome! : )

  • [...] The Buy Nothing (New) For the Holidays Challenge – Challenges each of us to give gifts that have a low- to no-impact on the earth by giving handmade, home grown, antique/thrift store finds, or charity gifts for the holidays. [...]

  • I already purchased some new things before finding this challenge, but count me in for the rest of the shopping season!

  • [...] season. Check out Crunchy Chicken’s “Buy Hand for the Holidays”  and One Green Generation’s “Buy Nothing *New* for the Holidays” their active community of participants challenge and motivate each other to maintain their various [...]

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