The Buttimore & Jones Family Christmas Covenant 2012

[Sorry, another post that's not about books or writing. Normal service will be resumed next week.]

We love buying presents for our friends and family for Christmas. We love taking time to carefully choose gifts which will both surprise and delight. But it’s not always easy to choose the right present, and it’s always expensive. Apparently during January about £3.2 million worth of unwanted Christmas presents are returned to stores each year, because sometimes gifts aren’t things which surprise and delight, but pointless tokens which obligate people to buy equally pointless tokens for others, even when they can ill afford them. 

So this year we want to take a completely different approach.  We’ve seen websites like The Advent Conspiracy and blogs like Is it time to ban Christmas presents, and we’ve thought about how we might make Christmas 2012 a little more special, less commercialised, more focussed on the Saviour, and much less likely to leave us worrying about the family budget in January.

If you’re a child don’t worry. We will still buy presents for the children as usual.
If you’re an adult, however, we’d like to make a pact with you. We will give you gifts which we have made, or which otherwise have cost us very little. And we’d like you do agree to do the same for us. In fact, we’re going to set a maximum budget of £2 per gift per person. Alternatively, if you’re a family with children, we could buy you all a family gift – a board game, a DVD, or something the whole family can enjoy together.

To make this even easier, below you’ll see two gift lists. The first list is items you might ask us for – things which we can make or do for you. Feel free to choose, and let us know what you’d most enjoy. But get your orders in early – especially for craft items, since these can take months to make. That’s why we’re making public our Christmas Covenant now – I can’t sew five Family Trees in December!

The second list is things that we need. Many of them can be bought from your local pound shop, charity shop or even dug out of your attic. We don’t mind “regifted” items, and we’ll even be happy with something you got free, such as a McDonald’s Coke glass. Many cost nothing more than time.

Thank you so much for joining in this covenant with us, and we look forward to having a wonderful, meaningful , and inexpensive, Christmas 2012.

Anna and Roderic

  • A book of our best family recipes, including the ever-popular Tatws Pum Munud
  • A basket of home-made fudge, mint crèmes and chocolate truffles
  • A cross-stitch picture. Choose from a Family Tree, birth sampler, London Temple, or suggest your own design.
  • A basket of ironing done
  • A home-made Christmas Yule log delivered to your door on Christmas Eve 

  • Toaster bags (available in Pound shops)
  • An Amazon and Goodreads review of one of Anna's books (I can lend you the book)
  • A couple of car washes
  • A bookshelf built to fit our alcove (we will supply the materials – this has to be from the Humphrey family!)
  • A week’s dogsitting
  • Decorating/mending services


  1. I'll go along with that.

    If you'll promise to stop splutting infinitives, I don't need any other prezzie.




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