Everyday Living Tips | Party Planning

The Celebrate Like Scrooge Christmas Gift Exchange

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Now I know that old Ebenezer Scrooge has a reputation, and it isn’t as a suave investor or brilliant saver. I imagine him walking about in a house coat with a grimace and a hook for a nose. Not exactly the kind of guy I want babysitting my three kiddos. But let’s not deny that he was a hard worker who amassed a large fortune by spending very little and sacrificing where required. Besides his gruff exterior and dislike for Christmas, isn’t he just a wise spender!

There is a lesson here, I can sense it

In honour of Ebenezer Scrooge’s wise habits I am going to change my giving this year and would like to have you join me in this new tradition. I am going to cut back on non-essential gift giving, and definitely not go into debt while shopping. That’s right! I am going against the social norm to start a new tradition. No more generic $20.00 trinket or gift card. My friends and I are going to give each other crap from our basement. To participate with me, just find something hideous or broken in your basement and wrap it up in newsprint to give to some poor sucker in a Christmas gift exchange. It works better if everyone has the same idea, otherwise you might not get invited again next year. But If everyone is on board, it’s a real laugh watching people open up the strangest things that others had stored away.

It puts the fun back in dysfunctional

Now I don’t want you to get the wrong impression about me. I put up a Christmas tree and decorate with lights. I enjoy watching my kids open presents (bought at a real store ), but I don’t like the pressure of gift giving to people who don’t live in my house. So for all the rest of you, we have this other exchange. I have tested it on friends and last year even my family. Long story short, it’s a HIT! It’s spreading like wildfire and coming to a town near you. For those of my family and friends we call it “crap from the basement Christmas”, but if you wanted to call it “Freeat33 Christmas” or “Free Christmas”, I wouldn’t object! LOL.

Christmas Exchange
Free at 33 Crap From Your Basement Christmas Exchange

Some of the crazy things we have seen?

  • A ten-year old tax strategy book
  • A broken clock
  • A talking Santa Christmas decoration
  • Someone’s Grandmothers kitten cookie jar.
  • A guide to bodybuilding written by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

One year someone put in hockey tape and people went crazy for it. Next to crap from the basement, hockey tape was like getting a diamond ring! People were talking about how they wish they got that one.

In fact besides the hockey tape (boy I wish I would have scored that hockey tape ), everyone else spends the night trying to purge of their “present” by hiding it in other people’s purses/coats/cars etc. Sometimes they don’t know they took it home with them.

It’s a whole new kind of fun.

Suddenly getting a lump of coal doesn’t seem so bad…..

This year for Christmas instead of mindlessly buying that CD or DVD for your cousin, suggest the Freeat33 Christmas gift exchange. I guarantee it’s a blast.

Question: What is really important to you? Is it really the CD?  Or is it the company?

You might just find that this is a great excuse to forget about all the holiday stress. It’s also a great reason to go through the basement once a year and really question why you have saved something.

The Best Part

At the end of the night, everyone leaves what they couldn’t get rid of with the host. I hope you consider joining me in this Freeat33 tradition Christmas Exchange and celebrate like Scrooge!

Merry Christmas.

Thanks to CBB for this guest post opportunity.

Editors Note: Gift Giving doesn’t always have to be brand new items. The Holidays should be about spending time with loved ones. We do “new to me” gifts like a mate of ours. If someone on our list needs something and we can find it used, practically new or new still in the package on kijiji for cheaper we will do it. All of the immediate family is ok with that. Our mate is no Scrooge she’s just a smart saver who shared her smarts with us and a gift exchange like Derek suggests is brilliant.

Derek Knight Free at 33
Derek Knight Free at 33

Guest Post By: Hi, I’m Derek Knight, and I write about challenging the status quo in life and finance at Free at 33. My readers and I are part of a unique gang of Freedom Kn’ighters.  It’s always better, faster, and stronger for us.  If this sounds like you’re kind of misfits, then stop by and check us out.

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  1. We did white elephant gifts for our office Christmas party last year. Some people don’t get it so it was sort of a dud. I have done this with a group of my husband’s college friends and it was hilarious. We got an owner’s manual from the electric company and a peacock made out of shells. I love the idea, but our office decided to do an ornament exchange this year, which is the same concept just maybe not as funny.

  2. Love it! How fun would that be. I think it’s an awesome idea. I would rather get some fun junk than a generic present. Great idea.

  3. I dig it. That’s how our white elephant gift exchanges went as kids – but now it seems as an adult all of the sudden we’re supposed to spend money on white elephant gifts. And we’re supposed to want them?

    That’s totally not how I remember it =)

  4. My sister-in-law’s husband’s family do a thing where you buy one gift for a guy and one for a woman and things are put on a table at the family get-together and you pick a gift accordingly. I think she said the limit was $5.00 the last time we talked about it. She always has a laugh about some of the things that are given out. We used to just give to the kids for a bit when they were small, then we drew names and now it’s the next generation so she buys something for my grandson as she has no grandkids of her own yet.

  5. Nice idea Derek! I think you would get a sewage pipe from me this year! We do a similar game when we go on holiday with friends, the challenge is bringing back the weirdest souvenir ever, with a $2 limit. Takes off the pressure to spend half your holiday shopping for gifts for your friends.

  6. Thankfully we don’t keep a lot of junk. If we don’t use it, or if it hasn’t been used in awhile, then it’s given to Goodwill. I love this idea though and the primary concept behind it: that Christmas has nothing to do with buying presents for one another. We need to get over that idea but I don’t see it going away anytime soon.

  7. I love it! I hate the pressure of buying gifts as well. We buy for our immediate family and beyond that we’re very limited. I think you can give a gift without having to break the bank or just add to the commercialization. We’ll do things like a white elephant exchange or some sort of baked good.

  8. Hahaha. Awesome. I hope there were pictures in that body building book! They would have been hilarious. We did something sort of similar at my friend’s parent’s cottage once. There were a lot of unexpected new things the next time they went up there. Doesn’t everyone’s cottage need two egg slicers??

    1. Funny you mention that. I have a device that was found in the kitchen of a cottage we bought. Nobody seems to know what it is for. I think I am going to post a picture with a contest to see if someone can tell me what the heck it is.

      What is funny is that I still have it, even though I can’t identify it!

  9. I love it – fantastic post! 🙂 I wonder if I can get rid of my husband’s CD collection by giving it to someone as crap from my basement. 🙂

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