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The Zero Dollar Christmas Challenge

Sigismund von Dobschütz at Wikimedia Commons under a GNU Free Documentation license)There are plenty of reasons to cut back on your holiday shopping this year: the lousy economy, needless waste, insane (and sometimes deadly) crowds and the heavy cost it all imposes on the environment as well as on our wallets. So I’m engaging upon a personal challenge: the Zero Dollar Christmas.

OK, I’ll probably end up spending a little bit on Christmas gifts this year — with a five-year-old in the house, it’s hard not to meet at least a few of the wishes on his list. Even so, though, I’ll aim to keep most of those purchases in the used/recycled/eBay/Craigslist categories.

For many of the others on my holiday list, though? I’ve been exploring ways to create attractive, useful and thoughtful gifts at little or no cost using things I already have around the house. You can check out the ideas I’ve assembled so far (a few of which I’ve already made) at Zero Dollar Christmas.

Now I’m asking all of you to send in your suggestions as well. Have you made any Christmas gifts yourself yet? Have you ever received any you thought were especially wonderful? Do you have a favorite resource you visit with handmade crafts and gifts ideas? Let me know, and I’ll continue posting more thoughts on how to celebrate a Zero (or near-zero) Dollar Christmas!