A Homemade Christmas

In pioneer days Ma and Pa were the center of Christmas giving.  Ma made homemade socks, sweaters, rag dolls and shirts and dresses. Pa made handcrafted furniture such as toy chests, doll cradles, and sleds.  Sometimes we dream of going back to those days and we can.  A homemade Christmas really is possible today by giving thoughtful, quality presents to the whole family.

With a little thought and planning, there are many ways and kinds of gifts to be given.  There are gifts of service, gifts of home-cooked food, and homemade items including games, toys, and clothes.  Use your particular talents and creativity when planning your projects, and above all, have fun!

Gift certificates for services you can render are always a hit.  Baby sitting for grandchildren or friends, sprucing up a yard or garden, even pet sitting or dog walking may be appreciated.  Make the certificate from examples you find on the Internet.  The prettier you make the certificate the nicer the gift seems. Gift baskets are another great idea and even though they are not expensive they show thoughtfulness. You could make a gift basket for an evening at the movies.  You might include a package of popcorn, some candy and either a DVD or a movie rental coupon.  A garden basket is another fun gift.  Include a cute sun hat, a trowel and some seed packets.  Use your imagination and come up with ideas that exactly suit the recipient of your gift.

Children of all ages love gingerbread houses.  You can make the whole thing, decorated and all, or you could just bake the pieces and make a kit including candy and an icing packet.   Be sure to include your recipes.  Every year that we have a gingerbread house I have a little trouble saving it for Christmas. Everyone wants to snitch the candy, including my husband! That’s just part of the holiday fun!

Making candy or cookies is a real Christmas must.  What fun would Christmas be without a baking day?  For gifts, wrapping the baked goods in a festive way makes the giving and the getting twice as much fun.

Make your specialty.  Whether it is a jar of cookie mix or your favorite bean soup recipe, anything dressed up in its Christmas finery makes a special gift

Making games is easier than you think.  My married daughter made a game called “Can’t Stop.”  It was popular when she was little and isn’t manufactured anymore.  She copied the design from an old game and made the whole thing out of cardboard.  You can make many board games   I remember playing the game “Cootie” as a child, with my grandma.  We just drew each part of the Cootie as we rolled the right number.  Whoever got their whole cootie drawn first was the winner.  Pick Up Sticks could be made from wooden skewers.  Use your imagination; you will be surprised at how easy it is to come up with your own great ideas.

Candles are a great gift.  Try making a teacup candle, or pour melted wax in a beautiful glass.  Other homemade gifts are Christmas ornaments, bookmarks, or trivets made from tile samples.  One of my favorite gifts I have ever received was a calendar made from photos of my children and grandchildren. Templates are on the Internet.

I imagine people have been making gifts for far more years than they have been buying them.  I know I can still remember the homemade dresses and mittens and scarves I received as a child.  It is so heartwarming to see today’s mothers making gifts for their families.  My granddaughter brought me some homemade soap the other day. I guess anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

Having a Homemade Christmas is not only possible, but can be very fun and rewarding!

~Arden Haskin
Photos from sxc.hu.  Used with permission of Mei Teng.

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