Friday, December 3, 2010

T'is The Season..

I was opening my mail today and marveling 1) at all the trees someone killed and the money they wasted sending me junk mail I neither want nor requested (and, yes, I am on the "no junk mail" list, for whatever good that does), and 2) wondering who buys the junk they put in the junk mail catalogs.

I was also puzzled by the number of incoming bills for December. They always loom larger than normal when so many other things are demanding my monetary attention - like presents, for instance. 

I know I'm not alone in this wistful feeling of wanting to make my family Christmas tree look lively and not listless. After all, T'is the season to be jingly in the pockets, right?

Yes, now comes the bubble bursting.

The longer you are in this sport, the more expensive it becomes. Even when your skater reaches a level of making prize money or doing shows, what it took to get him or her to that point is probably still tied up in two or three mortgages and years of high interest credit card bills. Of course, it didn't help that the economy tanked, too, leaving many two-family incomes with one - or none. The "Salad Days" of seemingly hundreds of gifts under the tree are gone.

So, I would like to make a "Modest Proposal" for some  handmade gifts this holiday season:
  1. Take all those old competition tee and sweatshirts out of the drawer. Cut them into squares and make a memory quilt.
  2. Old, recycled costumes (after they've been cleaned) can make great pillow covers and lampshades.
  3. Spray paint old Bunga Pads and put sequins on them to hang from the tree.
  4. Make Origami birds and boxes out of old hotel bills from competition trips
  5. Decoupage glass ornaments with copies of old podium photos and then add the competition and the year in gold foil sticky letters (if you can remember when and where it was)
  6. Take old skating blades. Weld the heel plates to a circular pipe. Get a small, fake tree at the craft store and stick it in the base. Hang skating memorabilia from the tree and use old skate laces like garlanding (you can spray paint the laces gold or a color for a more festive look - add more sequins from old costumes, too!) You can even hang all those past non-qualifying medals from the tree as ornaments.

Finally, here's my favorite

Cut a rectangle of wood and bevel it lengthwise so it will hold a blade. Spray paint an old pair of boots with metalic gold or silver paint. Put a cheap plastic vase inside the boot. Fill the boot with holiday flowers or decorations and use it as a centerpiece on the table. 

Holidays don't have to be expensive for us skating parents. We just have to be willing to be creative, take a little time and be good stewards of the environment by "repurposing" all those things we spent so much money on.

Unlike Jonathan Swift's Modest Proposal, however, I would hope that we are not all so impoverished that we would resort to his solution.

Now you must excuse me. Supper's ready..


  1. Allison, you inspire me! I'm going to take that collection of old corn pads in my van and use them to trim the tree! I can stick them on ornaments, make homemade earrings, and string them together to make garland.

    You. Are. A. Genius!

  2. Thanks, Ice Mom. You do make me blush. And speaking of blush, use those compacts as ornaments, too! You can put skating photos inside like a large locket :)

  3. All of those medals can be hung as is on the tree or decoupaged to make great ornaments.
    Great post! ;)

  4. Again, thanks! Anyone can add their own repurposed skating present ideas here, too! I'm sure I'm not the only one who has done this (and, yes, I HAVE done some of these things!).

  5. I love the idea of recylcing bunga pads. Absolutely brilliant.