Homemade Christmas Presents
Making homemade Christmas presents is not just a way to save money, it is a way to tuck a little bit of yourself in amongst all the paper and ribbons and prefabricated, mass manufactured, well, stuff. A way to show those special somebodies that you cared with time, rather than cash. And it is a way to release your creative impulses which have been smoldering there, maybe since childhood, when a grownup made you put your crayons away; those impulses that are part of who you are and never really go away...
But enough philosophizing. Let's get on with the fun stuff!
Gift Baskets for Homemade Christmas Presents
Baskets and tins of assorted sizes and shapes can be collected for a few dimes apiece at any thrift store. Fill them with anything you are good at making- peanut butter fudge, cookies, small crocheted or knitted items, homemade hot cocoa mix, peanut butter fudge, framed photos of your family, custom designed calendars, did I mention peanut butter fudge?
Or pick a theme or two, or several. Here are some ideas.
1. Bath Theme. Crochet or knit an assortment of washcloths for each person, add some natural soap and homemade bath salts using epsom salts, sea salt and a few drops of essential oil, such as lavender, or mix in soothing, chamomile tea. Garnish with a few sprigs of rosemary, another tension relieving herb and complete the charm with a votive candle or two.
2. Meal Theme. Such as Italian. Make a dry mix for pizza dough, add a can of tomato sauce, a seasoning mix, a small shaker of parmesan cheese, and a few simply sewn napkins of red checkered cloth. Garnish with a couple garlic bulbs and a nicely decorated recipe card. Pasta could also be substituted for the pizza dough mix. Or how about a Mexican meal theme? Make a bean soup mix, layering beans attractively in a jar. Include seasoning mix, recipe card, a bag of tortilla chips or a corn bread mix and a jar of hot sauce. For napkin fabric, choose oranges or reds in earth/clay tones.
3. Gift Baskets for Bookworms. Look for books that would be of interest to each member of your recipient's family at your local thrift store or on half.com. Design bookmarks using cross stitch art, collages from magazine clippings, watercolor decorations, pressed flowers and leaves, etc. Preserve paper or cardboard decorated ones with clear contact paper or packaging tape. Add a tassle with colorful ribbon, yarn or embroidery floss.
4. Kitchen Theme. Crochet or knit matching dish cloths, pot holders and hotpads. Or sew a simple hotpad from sturdy fabric squares and fill with rice and cloves for a fragrant table. The aroma will be released when a hot dish is set on it. As a nice touch, add a few tapered candles and coordinating holders from thrift store finds.
5. Hot Beverage. Look for holiday mugs at thrift shops. Accompany these with hot cocoa mix, flavored coffee mix or Russian tea in a canning jar. Place a square of festive fabric over the lid and secure with the screw on ring, adding a cute tag with serving instructions. Make matching coasters using some of the many free crochet patterns online.
6. Homemade Play Dough Mix. For this mix, stir together one cup flour, one half cup salt, one tsp. cream of tartar and one packet flavored drink mix, such as Kool-aid. Place in a pint sized jar. Include the following instructions: Place mix, one cup of water and one tsp. vegetable oil in a medium saucepan. Mix well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until dough is thick and forms a ball. For your gift basket, make mixes for several colors, using different flavors, and add some cookie cutters and fun, colored plastic cutlery, such as zoo pals.
7. Kids Art Theme. Forget those expensive art kits. Compile your own for just a few dollars. Fill small jars with buttons, colored pasta, dried beans and cut up colored drinking straws. Add some balls of leftover yarn, scraps of felt, needles and thread. Create a customized coloring book by printing some of the millions of free pages from the internet and include a small box of crayons, some glue and colored paper.
And remember, never put your crayons away.....
Sew Liners For Gift Baskets
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