Simple Christmas Gifts From the Heart
Stores have been gearing up for the most profitable season of the year for weeks. Many of us have tried to ignore the Christmas décor and merchandise that popped up shortly before Halloween, but barring a vision disability or being housebound it is not something easily ignored.
While Christmas is my all time favorite holiday I despise the materialism and "gimmee" spirit that abounds. Every electronic gadget in the universe seems destined to find it's way under someone's tree, every overpriced doll, every video game. And, have you noticed lego toys lately? Some of the kits are over $100.00.
You don't have to buy into that. Homemade gifts are becoming rare but the time and love that goes into them makes them precious beyond anything else. Instead of going into deeper debt, why not consider something from the heart this year?
There are lots of different types of food gifts to give. Homemade cookies are a wonderful gift. I generally try to make several different kinds in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and then prepare platters of cookies on vintage plates, casserole dishes, and other kitchen items that I pick up at thrift shops year 'round. This makes a nice dual gift. For a smaller version- a vintage tea cup with a few cookies or candies nestled inside, along with some tea bags and then covered with tulle and tied with a bow is fantastic.
If you are shipping them choose cookies that are sturdy. Drop cookies, bars, or slice and bake are the best for this. December 11 is the last day to ship priority packages overseas, and December 20 is the last day to ship priority here in the states and still have it there for Christmas.
You can create beautiful cookie-in-a-jar gifts with wide mouth mason jars and homemade tags. Just put the ingredients in the jar in layers and close with the screw on top. Add the directions and there you have a great gift.
Besides cookies; breads, quick breads, and muffins are all wonderful gifts. They can be given in the same way as cookies, or spray paint a brown lunch bag gold and present them that way. You can wrap a festive loaf of cranberry bread in a cloth napkin and tie with raffia, or wrap with plastic wrap and arrange in a basket.
Try your hand at making homemade herbal vinegars with fresh herbs and fruits. Put them in a beautiful bottle and they are ready to be given.
Fudge and other candies are fun gifts to make and to give. My kids love to help make candies to arrange on vintage dishes, or in teacups, or even in old head vases.
Hot chocolate, Russian Tea and other drink mixes are a nice addition to a holiday basket if you are making one, or just given alone in jars. Use old Christmas cards to make the tags.Just cut them out with fancy edged scissors.
Use your imagination in packaging the gift, that is part of the fun. Make your own labels on the computer, or use unusual things to label your gifts. You can even use sugar cookie cutouts with a hole poked into the top and the recipients name written on it with icing.
Coupons can be custom made for the person you are gifting. Think about what they might like, their lifestyle, and their needs. One of the best Christmas gifts I ever got was from one of my kids who gave me a coupon book full of coupons for shoulder rubs, foot rubs, hand massages and head massages for when I had a headache. It was perfect for me.
Other coupon ideas are for babysitting, a night out,chores, or even a board game played together. My kids like to get a Get Out of Bedtime Free coupon which allows them to veto bedtime when the have this (rare) coupon! Just make sure to use your imagination when designing and printing it. There are some great ideas and coupons at MYO Gift Coupons that you can print for free.
I love when my husband gives me a day with him. He clears his schedule and takes me antiquing and out to lunch. Our schedules do not allow for this luxury often but it is my favorite gift of all.
There are many crafts that are easy to make and appreciated by the one getting them. If you crochet or knit then scarves, mittens, socks, afghans, and other handmade things are eagerly awaited items. I spin and am planning on giving a friend who crochets some handspun wool from my sheep. Sewing ability means quilts, toys, and numerous other items that you can sew quickly and easily.
If you have a green thumb, what about forcing some tulip, amaryllis, or narcissus bulbs in time for Christmas. How about starting plants from cutting s and giving them as gifts? Create a container herb garden for the windowsill of your favorite gourmet?
There are many kinds of crafts. Take an afternoon and search out some of the web pages looking for ideas that will work for you, but don't put it off! Christmas arrives before you know it.
Mainly, don't automatically think in terms of malls and Internet stores. Think about the people on your list and what would be meaningful to them and try to give something that will show them that you care, not just that you have a credit card.