November 3, 2018 at 3:05 pm #2922
I love homemade Christmas gifts and make them every year. Who else is making homemade gifts? Can you share instructions (links or your DIY)?
This year, I’m making
Scarves out of that gorgeous new velvet yarn
Homemade spicy pepper peach jam
Family cookbooks, handwritten, for each of my girls
November 3, 2018 at 5:02 pm #2935
Those cookbooks will be practical, usable heirlooms your girls can pass down to their own daughters — what a wonderful way to show you care for them.
No kids or family members here to gift and I’ve donated so many hats and scarves (which are easiest to whip up in a hurry) that I have already tried something different this year. I walk daily on a popular bike path that parallels a busy road and thus has wire fencing along several portions. I made a dozen red/green/white Christmas star ornaments with loops, all different designs, and went out very early one day when no one was around, to hang them on the wire fencing, spaced about two feet apart. I then walked on to a local shopping center to run errands and returned along the bike path a couple of hours later.
All the ornaments were gone! My good deed for the community to brighten up their trees. Sorry I don’t have specific patterns, since I just make them up as I go, but you can Google “free crochet pattern Christmas star” and probably approximate what I did. Yes, that velvet yarn is fabulous and will be much appreciated. 🙂
November 4, 2018 at 5:29 pm #3035
November 3, 2018 at 7:29 pm #2943
I love your kindness! What a wonderful idea that is!
November 3, 2018 at 11:29 pm #2958
Emo Bear ForeverParticipant
I’ll be making jar meals using some of my freeze dried food to give to family members.
November 4, 2018 at 10:29 am #2993
I like that idea, @Emo
November 4, 2018 at 11:03 am #2999
I will be crocheting a few toys, some afghans and a few beanie hats. I will also be dremel-ing and/or woodburning some rune and ogham sets for a few people. I have made it a tradition to also give a few handmade ornaments for my brother’s fam, my mom, and grown kids. I will be busy with that as well as the usual farm chores! I do enjoy crafting this time of year.
November 4, 2018 at 12:11 pm #3001
This is going to be a long rant 🙂
Years ago I dropped out of the Christmas gift nuclear arms race which is as devastating as an exchange of ICBMs. I make no effort to provide a gift to every nephew, niece, sibling, cousin, neighbor, co-worker, friend, etc. As I am childless, I’ve never been forced to provide gifts for a child’s teachers and classmates and neighborhood friends.
In the name of self-preservation, I give cash to the building super and mailman. I give token gifts to two people I know who are alone and lonely. I give a token gift to an elderly aunt. I send a small box of dollar store gifts to one niece for her 4 young kids, who are still young enough and unspoiled enough to get excited about dollar store gifts.
I stopped spending Christmas with one sibling because it entails providing gifts for 10 to 15 people. Now I visit her on Thanksgiving. I spent Christmas one year with a cousin and I was horrified at the Christmas gift nuclear arms race in her social milieu. I talked with her and asked her to please not give me a gift costing more than $3 and that I would give her a gift costing no more than $3. She was surprised and meek and complied. Her husband thanked me 🙂
In my life I have learned that it’s a big financial mistake to spend Christmas with other people. The gift expectations, on top of the cost of travel, too big a hit in the wallet. Nowadays I spend Christmas alone and line up fun and interesting things to do during the season and make myself a special dinner. I want to be clear that I voluntarily spend Christmas alone because Christmas with other people costs too much!!
I am just done with the gift-giving wars, and this goes way, way back, many, many years. I remember when I was a grade school child, my teachers would get nasty with me when my parents didn’t provide them with Christmas gifts. I remember neighborhood parents insulting me (a grade schooler) when I would bring an “inadequate” gift to their child’s birthday party. As an adult, I have been insulted at wedding receptions by brides and grooms for not giving them a good enough gift. I am so, so done with the gift-giving wars.
November 4, 2018 at 1:07 pm #3006
I feel you Molly, I am pretty much of the same mind frame. I don’t expect anything from anyone and nobody expects anything from me. The commercialization of holidays got to me years (decades) ago. If I give anyone anything it is most likely cash or something practical like a gas card, something that can actually be used and not something that will be discarded or collect dust in a forgotten corner.
November 4, 2018 at 2:45 pm #3010
This is why I make things. I agree totally – it’s out of control!
Here’s my confession. Christmas at Casa Luther.
The remaining family members on my side are either deceased or do not celebrate the holiday. We spend the holidays with just the 3 of us and we love it.
For my daughters, the things I buy are generally very practical in nature. Last year, my eldest was delighted to find a stocking filled with a year’s supply of tampons. My youngest got good-quality insoles for her shoes since she works on her feet all day. We exchanged different coffees because we’re all into coffee. If we do a “big gift” (which doesn’t happen every year) it’s generally a trip somewhere – we’d rather have an experience than more stuff. We always exchange some handmade items because we enjoy making things for one another.
Our traditional meal is Chinese takeout and our entertainment is a Die Hard movie marathon (which I own.) Usually, we don’t get out of our pajamas all day.
The day after Christmas, my girls travel up to Canada to spend time with their grandparents on their father’s side of the family and Mama gets some blessed solitude.
We know how to party.
November 5, 2018 at 2:41 pm #3161
I love the idea of making gifts for each other. So much more special! And the special thing about Christmas is being with loved ones, not having fancy feasts. My Christmas movie marathons (usually alone) are more likely to be Harry potter or Star Trek.
November 4, 2018 at 5:55 pm #3036
Daisy, I am simply shocked that you do not host a $2500 champagne and bloody mary breakfast on Christmas morning to which all 250 of your closest friends and relatives and neighbors are invited, followed by a gift exchange. You Scrooge. Do you not know the True Meaning of Christmas?
Speaking of Chinese food at Christmas, the centerpiece of my meal is a whole roast duck, peking-style, from Chinatown. In my local Chinatown, the roast ducks are already cooked and ready to go like fast food, no waiting or pre-ordering. They are sold not at fancy restaurants but at places that resemble diners. They are absolutely delicious and the bones and skin make an absolutely delicious soup the next day.
November 5, 2018 at 2:39 pm #3159
Ooooh, my mouth is watering now! I used to live in Chinatown, I so miss real Chinese BBQ duck. Can’t get it here. Since I am usually alone at Christmas, I do a half duck already cooked from the freezer section of a big box store (one of the few times I eat prefab food) with a few simply veggies. I would rather have duck than turkey any day.
November 4, 2018 at 6:29 pm #3041
I’m making cross stitch Christmas ornaments (little mini-portraits of each family), mason jars with cookie mixes and my girls are making caramels.
November 4, 2018 at 6:40 pm #3042
We have a Winter Solstice tradition in our family. We ask, “what do you need” rather than “what do you want?” Yes, we do get the kids one big gift, but just like in the olden days when during winters people would have sparse items to use, neighbors would help out. So that’s what we do. It’s about giving back to us. My mom makes comforters, baby blankets, etc. I make baked goods, etc. It’s a lot of fun and it feels great to help each other.
November 4, 2018 at 7:08 pm #3046
This year I hope to complete a special project for my children. We have a long history of cooks in our family. My daughter is a personal chef. I had a great uncle who owned a diner with renowned chili. So, I have all of the family recipes (I’m now part of the oldest generation. Many of the recipes are in the handwriting of the maker, so I’m pulling together a cookbook with the secret and not so secret recipes, sprinkled with family lore and photos. Thank goodness my Father and my Grandmothers were horders. There are lots of materials from which to choose. My Appalachian ancestors will live on in this book.
November 5, 2018 at 2:30 pm #3158
I just love the idea of the family cookbooks for the girls – that will bring them wonderful memories over the years!!
I will be mostly gifting homemade preserves this year, at least to people living close by. It has been years since I’ve been able to be with family at Christmas and we don’t really exchange gifts any more.
November 5, 2018 at 5:52 pm #3181
Oh yes!!! Chinatown roast duck is so incredibly good. Actually being in NYC for a couple of Christmases is how the Chinese takeout Christmas dinner tradition happened.
November 6, 2018 at 8:44 am #3210
Nancy E Griffith GriffithParticipant
I always either buy or make ornaments. We have dinner with an older couple who have outlived all siblings and children. (grand-kids live to far away) We visit them once a week or more often when they need something done or errands. ( they are 88 and still doing well)
We buy or make scarfs and mittens and wrap them around trees where the homeless go during the day. we don’t really exchange gifts but spend time and I make candy and cookies for the church people. Give eggs to those I know need them. I don’t have extra at this time of year but realize some need them more then we do and two eggs every other day doesn’t go far but we love giving.
November 6, 2018 at 2:54 pm #3252
Great traditions Nancy!
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November 9, 2018 at 4:29 pm #3806
I’ve made a gingerbread house for grandkids every year for several years and often an extra one for a surprise receipient and plates of cookies for neighbors.
GA Boy I love your idea- I am working on something similar.
July 9, 2019 at 6:07 pm #20843
I am kind of late on this bandwagon for last year!!! LOL! But, it is July and the holiday season is upon us! So this thread needs to get going again.
I have one daughter and son-in-law with 4 grandchildren. They are minimalists and don’t want stuff for themselves but I know that even though they have never gone big at Christmas with gifts for the kiddos, I cannot help myself.
One year I made my grandchildren pajama bottoms and purchased long sleeved shirts to match. Because they grow so fast at their ages (8, 6, 5, 7 mo) these things are quickly handed down. I also made each of them something special. My 6 year old granddaughter LOVES to dress up. She was using a blanket for a veil for getting married!! ha ha! So, I made her a special veil with bead work and she just loved it.
This year, I am going to visit them and take each of the older 3 on separate dates. Just to spend time with them. We have also decided on experiences rather than things.
July 10, 2019 at 8:43 am #20853
String Bean said,
We have also decided on experiences rather than things.
That right there!
I have a number of experiences with my daughter that I would not trade for the world!
Things get old, or un-used, or they just grow out of.
Granted, there is something about a teddy bear that sometimes never goes out of style or gown out of. My wife still has her teddy bear.
November 6, 2019 at 8:36 pm #24182
Christmas is around the corner and the driveway has really got me behind. Still working on getting kitchen cabnets cleaned out and just can’t get into making Christmas gifts. So since I have 3 in college and one getting ready to be transferred and wants to buy a house this time. And the 4th and 5th grandchild with one in CA and one in Texes (military), we are just going to give cash this year. We have done it before and it was a time when all needed the extra money. I feel that this year from what all the kids have said, they will be very happy with getting cash to help them with the things they need for school and one hoping to buy their first home after the transfer next year.
What are the plans for Christmas for all of you. Though I will miss making somethings as time has gotten away from me this year. But next year hopefully will be a much better year.
December 12, 2019 at 8:53 am #24770
I make tools. Given the things I see people do, I gift to ’em according to what they need to do the things they do. Some of these can be off-the-shelf. Others will be fabricated according to a real or perceived need on the part of the recipient. Tools wear out. Some of the best applause I get is , “The left handed monkey wrench you made me wore out. Can you make me another one?”
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