10 Ways To Celebrate A Destitute Christmas: #1. Scrumping Citrus


There is a sort of transcendental peace about poverty.  I usually find the holiday season fun, but very stressful.  The crush of shopping, making sure all the favorite holiday things are celebrated and everyone will get what they want, and all the worry about planning the holiday make me anxious.

This year, when Black Friday rolled around, we spent the day working quietly together.  On Cyber Monday, the computer was off, and we were outside enjoying the beautiful weather.  Quiet days they were, filled with family and pleasant work, because there will be no shopping for Christmas.  There will be no presents for Christmas.  Our gift is one of the greatest ones this holiday – the gift of us all spending time together.  How many other families are so blessed?

Just because we can’t afford to buy things doesn’t mean our holiday won’t be filled with love and joy.  This is the first of a twelve part blogging series I’ve been inspired to do about celebrating this season with no funds.


#1  Scrumping Citrus

Naturally this only applies to the Deep South, where orange trees are often planted as landscaping features.  Of course it would be neighborly to inquire first before filling up big bags from a tree in someone’s yard.  It is amazing how many citrus trees are neglected because people are afraid of eating something that didn’t come from a store (and I’m sure they still buy the bland store orange juice).
Even if they love citrus, the loaded grapefruit tree in the elderly couple’s yard usually outproduces what they could possibly eat.  Often there are orange trees, laden with fruit, that are re-grown root stocks from select citrus trees that were frozen back in cold winters.  It is worth trying them, as they usually have excellent flavor and can be made into pickles, ambrosia, cake, pie, salad dressing, souffle, lemonade and popsicles, or juiced and frozen in ice cube trays for fresh citrus juice year-round.
Just from asking around the neighborhood, we have scored all the citrus we could possibly want.  Grapefruits, lemons, limes, calamondins, oranges, and even pink pomelos cover the table.  They are the fruit of the season, and save on grocery money.

If whatever citrus you have on hand is tart, you can make excellent sour gummies.  The recipe says lemon, orange, or lime juice, but any old flavorful, sour citrus is great.  Often we make several flavors for fun.  If you don’t have a fancy mold to make them in, and are too poor to buy one, you can pour the gummy mixture into a glass pan and cut it into chunks or even strips like fruit roll-ups.  In the photos above I am re-filling chocolate advent calendars with sour gummies.  You can get many years of use out of a chocolate advent calendar this way.

If the citrus you find is really, truly unpalatable, you can even make ornaments out of it.

So forage around and fill your table with the golden glow of fresh citrus!  It will keep your spirits up, the vitamin C will keep you healthy, and good food with grace your table instead of being wasted.

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