i generally try to keep our gift giving budget low in the spending department because we don’t have any extra money to throw around. however, i cherish my friends, both online and in real time because they are my true family. they are there for me more than my ‘real’ family is. so, i tend to go overboard this time of year showing my appreciation and love for them and all they do for me. and to me, handmade shows that more than any purchased gift ever could.
i have a standard set of cookies and goodies that i make every year. most are simple foods that my kids can help me make such as white chocolate dipped pretzels, peppermint bark, toffee, fudge and brittle. everyone usually gets a bar of soap and sometimes a jar of jelly or some tinctures. because the food items are simple to make, i can put the girls in charge of making them and it frees me up to work on my main love…kids gifts!
i enjoy making gifts for everyone although i must confess, the kids usually get most of the creative handmade goodness. each year, i fill a folder on my computer with pictures, projects and descriptions of things i think would be great to give as holiday gifts. each year, it’s becoming more challenging as friends’ kids are aging and hitting all different age categories. a few years ago, one gift worked for all age levels. now, i’ve got 3 different age levels of gifts to make.
but, that’s alright because i’ve always got tons of ideas.
this year, the little ones are getting some posh birdies i made from this pattern at spool. sage is in love with them and runs off with any i leave laying around. i’ve already wrapped them up to curb this habit…don’t want to be sending out any used birdies!
all the older kids that can add are getting a magic 5 game. i originally saw it on an etsy shop but i can’t find it listed anymore. so far, i have the pouch made and the game card made. now i’m waiting for greg to saw some branches into disks which i’ll paint numbers on and then finish with a beeswax sealant. the object of the game is to place the 5 in the middle of a tic-tac-toe grid and the other tiles numbered 1-9 must be arranged with the 5 to add up to 15 in every direction. i haven’t found the solution yet but i haven’t tried either. it intrigues me and i will do it before i gift them. i have 10 more days.
then, there are my own kids…
a sock monkey for my 11 year old (she’s been wanting one for a few years and even put it on her list this year)
a waldorf mermaid for my 4 year old (i need to add hair and then it’s done)
a waldorf doll for my 2 year old who desperately wants his own doll…i’ve barely started on it and need to get busy. i’d also like to make a stuffed felt horse for the doll to ride but cannot locate the pattern online anymore (anyone seen the pattern???)
it can be tricky coming up with handmade gifts for older kids, my 14 year old and 12 year old boy are great examples of this. last year, i was able to make the 14 year old a quivor for his arrows. i used to sweat it worrying about whether i’d be able to make them something that would appeal to them. now, if i can’t, i’ll buy them something preferrably handmade elsewhere or secondhand (this year it’s used books all around…the eragon series for the elder and civil war novels for the younger). they are thrilled with used because it means they get more than they would if it were new.
adults are even harder to please when it comes to handmade, at least men are it seems. most women seem to enjoy handmade, probably because they can appreciate the time and effort that went into the gifts. men are a little more picky. food seems to go over well with them though…cookie samplers, fudge samplers, homebrewed beer, etc. i have done some knitting projects for my dad in the past that were well received: golf club covers, socks…and i made a leather bound book for greg one year that he has just about worn out he uses it so much.
coming up with ideas can be just as fun as making the items. i try to think of the individual and their hobbies. then i try to come up with ideas that i could make to enhance their hobbies or make their lives a bit easier. i keep a list in my binder (another post for another time perhaps) of people in my life and potential gift ideas throughout the year. as i use up the ideas, i cross them off the list. it works well for keeping track, especially when i get an idea at an odd time of the year!
when it all comes down to it though, it truly is the thought that counts!