A few years ago, our family started doing ‘Handmade Christmas’. There were a few reasons we made this decision. First, was to stop getting caught up in the commercialism, and start giving from the heart, rather than a list. Second, was to keep our budget in check, pay for everything with cash and incur No Debt for Christmas! And third – well, it’s a selfish reason. Because I like to make things and this gave me the perfect opportunity to explore some new avenues of the craft world and hubby would pay for the supplies
The first couple years, I made things for the grandchildren, and the girls. Hubby gave Walmart gift cards to the guys. (Still, he paid for them with cash, no debt). Because, well, let’s be honest, it’s hard to make things for guys that aren’t dorky, and aren’t stuffed in a drawer as soon as they get home. But if you want to get real finicky about it, a Walmart gift card is not a handmade gift.
The first year, I had a stack of quilts a mile high from publishing my book
so I took out all the ones I was willing to part with, and said “Pick out the quilt you’d like to have!” There was some mayhem and free for all-ing, but it was fun. It did make me wonder how I was going to top that the next year. But that was a year away, I didn’t have to worry about it now. Except – all of a sudden, Christmas was here again and I had nothing planned!
I used to make soap, long time ago, in another life, so I thought, well, who doesn’t like handmade soap? Except in looking up recipes and refreshing my memory on how to do it, I ran into recipes for scrubs, lotions, waters – you name it! And they all seemed so easy, and so cheap to make, I thought, why not make a Beauty Basket for the girls? So, I did and of course, it took longer and cost more than I’d imagined, but it was a nice gift when I was done. And it got us started on a path of making our own soap again, and making our own cleaners. Again, the guys got Walmart cards. But I did make little envelopes for them from scrapbook paper – does that count?
So, last year, I just didn’t think I could stand doing the Walmart card thing again, and then inspiration hit me. Fleece jammy pants. What guy doesn’t love a nice, comfy and warm pair of fleece jammy pants? Wonderful, I was so excited, I’d make 5 pairs of jammy pants for the guys and still do something fun for the girls! I went down the wrong road somewhere. As I was consulting with the wives on sizes and lengths, one of them said, “Oh we’d all love to have jammy pants!!!” And somehow, still not quite sure how, but somehow I ended up making about 20 pairs (give or take a few pairs) of jammy pants. From the youngest to the oldest kid – all received jammy pants. (I wish I’d made myself a pair now!)
This coming Christmas, I don’t want to be stuck in that position of making 20 of something ever again! So, I’ve already started making gifts. Crocheting a scarf for someone, making the Double Wedding Ring Quilt we featured in the July 2011 issue of TQPM, and that’s all I have so far. But as we go along and Christmas gets closer and closer, I’ll share my projects with you. I hope you’ll share yours with me!
And, you know, you don’t have to be ‘crafty’ in order to give handmade gifts. One of our daughters gave us a batch of Snickerdoodle Cookies one year – she had learned to bake that year and she was so proud of them, and yes they were YUMMY! You can also make up Soup Mixes in a Mason Jar, or a Cake Mix in a Mason Jar (hot chocolate, pudding mix… the list goes on forever and you can put it in a Mason Jar) Tie a ribbon around the top, included directions and there you go. Give gift certificates you make on your computer for babysitting, housecleaning, yard work, or a shopping/lunch day! They all come from the heart and that’s the important thing.