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Nature Inspired Christmas Stocking Stuffer Ideas
If you are like me, you waver between loving and despising holiday gifts. On the one hand I enjoy seeing my child’s gleaming smile upon receiving a new gift, while on the other hand it can be frustrating to come up with great gift ideas and track then down when you do.
Over the years, Christmas, as well as other holidays have become more and more superficial and commercial, with the emphasis on gifts feeling more and more pressured. Every year it seems the Christmas catalogs arrive in the mailbox earlier and earlier, overshadowing most of the fall season. In an effort to keep my kids' gift craziness at bay, I covertly move toy catalogs directly from the mailbox into the recycle bin, especially the American Girl catalog, which I have an extra contempt for.
Hiding catalogs isn’t the only method I have for avoiding the overly commercial holiday experience; I also have an arsenal of natural gifts that become lasting treasures when all the plastic toys have been broken or long forgotten. These gifts manage to bring a rich sense of satisfaction and lasting memories to our holiday experience, and I would like to share some of these ideas with you so that you can redirect the emphasis away from materialism and onto the beauty of our natural world.
The inspiration for these nature inspired gifts comes from the Waldorf education community where a connection to nature is highly valued and modeled.
Placing a thoughtfully wrapped stone in the Christmas stocking carries its own level of awe far and beyond anything that has been man-made. We have a collection of stones that my kids cherish year after year. Place a stone or two in the Christmas stocking and maybe even a magnifying glass so that your child can carefully explore their new treasure.
Nature’s limitless expression abounds in sea shells large and small. Wrap them, gift them, children will take pleasure in their tactile, mesmerizing, symmetrical allure.
Did you know that acorns can be used in an edible soup, for humans? Here, I suggest using them as a stocking stuffer using only the acorn tops, filled with either felt balls or pom pom balls, the latter can be found at most craft shops. These colorful acorns offer a tactile as well as visual delight. 2 or 3 of these adorable acorns can be held and played with or simply placed on a shelf and appreciated for their beauty. Hot glue works best to attach balls to the acorn tops.
It is fun to collect pine cones and give them as gifts as well. Why not decorate a pine cone by wrapping it with yarn, or roving wool (shown here). Pine cones can also be painted. Wrap them up with tissue paper and place them carefully inside the Christmas stocking for a charming touch of nature.
Pomander History and Use
The pomander is a token of good luck and dates back to the Middle Ages when the unsanitary conditions created an awful stench, the sweet smelling pomander was used to ward off the odor and even believed to prevent transmission of the plague. Pomanders were worn around the neck of on the waist and can be made in a variety of ways. Pomanders unique look and scent kept them as a holiday tradition to this day.
Pomanders naturally bring in the spirit of Christmas with their scent and unique visual appeal. A gift of a pomander might be the start of a family tradition for years to come. All you need is a citrus fruit such an orange, clementine and even a lime and whole cloves; the rest is open to creativity. Wrap one up in cloth and ribbon for an old fashioned touch. Use an nail or similar type object to poke holes in the fruit before inserting the cloves.
Betty will show you how to make a Pomander
Modge Podge Stones
These hand decorated stones are easily made and are likely to be treasured for a long time. Materials include: stone, fabric, permanent marker, modge podge and brush. Directions: cut fabric, coat one side of stone with modge podge, place fabric on stone and coat with modge podge, allow to dry, turn stone over and write chosen words and coat with modge podge, allow to dry.
I hope these ideas inspire you to replace some of the overly commercialized holiday gifts with items made by hand, as well as nature, in your home this holiday season..
More Gift Ideas
Some other natural type gifts you might consider are gems, glass beads and marbles. Children love playing with these types of items which easily ignite the imagination.
© 2013 Tracy Lynn Conway