It is Christmas time, that wonderful time of the year when our wishes often exceed our budget. This will be the sixtieth year that I have celebrated Christmas. Of course I don’t remember them all but I do remember quite a few. I think it is a special time of the year, one when I am reminded that life is fragile, wishes don’t always come true, and winter is here! I guess that sounds kind of pessimistic, doesn’t it? Rather than giving into the “Bah Humbug” of my favorite Christmas character Ebenezer Scrooge I want to share some tips for making this Christmas a resounding success!
One of my favorite Christmases was just a few years ago. My eldest daughter was not able to come home for Christmas so I packed up some things for her and she sent a package for all who were home for Christmas. She has an art degree so her packages always look like they were wrapped by a professional rather than like mine who look like my two-year old granddaughter wrapped them. Come to think of it my granddaughter would probably do a much better job than I do…oh well I digress. Here are a couple of photos of the packages my daughter sent that year. I think they are simply adorable and all she used was brown packaging paper, an ink pen and a small wreath she purchased at a craft store.
Not only is this idea simple but it is really cute. You can customize each package to look like the gift receiver’s own door as she did. If the package is large, then why not make the package look like a house! So many ideas are floating through my brain right now, how about you?
Spending a ton of money on wrapping paper isn’t something I like to do. My children laugh at me because I am the world’s biggest recycler of Christmas bags and tissue paper but saving the budget and the planet is my goal! I am just two generations away from homesteaders and one thing I learned from those generations is to save everything and re-purpose it. One year I wrapped all the Christmas gifts in newspapers, cartoon section for the kiddos and world news for the worldly, farm news for the farmer and cooking section for my Mom and sister! They loved it and so did I! Why not share with me some of your ideas for wrapping presents in the comment section and I will attach them to this post! I would love to see some of your ideas.
Another presentation I have used often for a gift is baskets, cups or bowls. I have given baskets with specialty foods for those who love to cook, you know Chinese spices, sauces and packets for the person who likes to cook Chinese, or hot sauce, tortillas and spice packets for those who love to cook Mexican food. You get the idea! I have often given tea and coffee with mugs for those who love to drink coffee or tea. Or take a nice mug and fill it with candy, markers, paper clips or pencils for teachers.
I love to crochet, knit, embroider and sew and I am always having some kind of project going. I love to give these as gifts or make them for missions to use as Christmas gifts for the elderly, homeless or orphans. There are many patterns that are for free on-line today and a gift you have spent time in making should always be appreciated and valued.
I also like to bake and one year for my brother-in-law who was always hard to purchase a gift for I baked him bread. I knew that he loved homemade bread and that my sister was not a baker so I baked him a huge batch of homemade bread. I gave him something like twenty-five loaves of homemade bread and then added homemade rolls and homemade cinnamon rolls, all were his favorite! He was so shocked and surprised that I am sure he never forgot that gift! The bread didn’t last too long as they had three growing boys at home at the time. I know that I sure had fun making all the bread and this was back in the day before bread machines even existed! I do miss that big old mixer with dough hooks that I used to have. Now that there are just two in my family some of those big old appliances seem cumbersome and so I got rid of them! Maybe I should get another one and make him some more bread this year! I am sure he would love it!
Another gift that I have given through the years is more personal. I write poetry and so I have made poetry books and given them to those I thought would enjoy them. I printed the poems out on paper and then made a little booklet. I also did the same with my favorite recipes and made a personalized cookbook. Making something mores personal is always a nice gift. Another time I used my video camera and created a master VHS tape of me playing the piano for several hours. I then copied the tape and gave the tapes to my aunts and uncles and parents. My Mom and Dad loved the gift and they played it often. With technology today it is pretty easy to make a personalized gift for someone you care about. Just think outside the box!
When my adult children were small I would make three batches of sugar cookie dough. I would leave one natural in color, tint on batch green and another red. We would bake all of these cookies on Christmas Eve afternoon and decorate them. Then we would divide them into batches put on paper plates and deliver them to all the neighbors, many whom we didn’t even know. It was a way to fill time and keep three children busy but it was also a way to teach them to give to others. In recent years my son has made a Ginger Bread house on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. He always enjoys this task as well.
This year I am going to get my son, who loves to cook, to help me and we are going to make all kinds of candies, cookies, breads and scones for gifts. I have been saving a lot of old tins from past Christmases; you know the kind that Danish cookies and fruitcake come in. We are going to fill them with homemade Christmas goodies and pass them around the neighborhood, the family, and the church family! We are going to be creative and make some specially decorated sugar cookies and see just how pretty we can make them. I think we both will love it!
Until next time…Katherine