The irregular and intimate quality of things made entirely by the human hand
There’s just something special about a gift that you know spent a lot of time in the heart, head and hands of the giver. It makes it all the more special when you know it wasn’t just picked up off a shelf, but was crafted with you in mind. Lovely.
Of course we haven’t accomplished making ALL our gifts. We have a lot of special people on our lists and some quite far away. And so, of course, we love online shopping. (I may or may not have a addiction to surfing around Etsy.) But, in striving to make the holidays truly HOLY days, we have endeavored to make more of our gifts each year.
We are a week away now. So, now it’s about minimal output for maximum effect. Here are some simple gifts we have made that are special for the giver and the receiver, as well as perfect for those of us that aren’t
talented crafty competing for the title of Miss Pinterest.
This one is easy for the kids and makes a really nice hostess gift. Clear glass stones from the craft store. Mod Podge scrapbooking paper to the back. Add a magnet!
I made these for my son about 6 years ago. And we still have them! Now that’s amazing. I took scrap wood and cut it into uniform blocks (well, by I, I mean, my husband), and painted them. Then I used Mod Podge and family photos to create his very own memory game!
These are super traditional and always appreciated. Push cloves into an orange for a lovely scented ornament. (Tip: Kids hate doing this. They complain that it hurts their fingers. So, use a skewer to premake the holes. Then the whole thing happens so much easier and without mother threatening to cancel Christmas if everyone doesn’t get with it and find some Christmas cheer. Not that this has ever happened or anything. *snicker*)
These also make a great hostess gift or a little something to leave in the mailbox for your postal worker!
- 6 whole cardamon pods
- 2 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 tablespoon whole allspice
- 1 teaspoon dried orange peel
- 12 cinnamon sticks
Light crush the cardamon pods, cloves and allspice with a mortar and pestle. Add the orange peel and mix until even distributed. Put two teaspoons in a teabag, tea ball strainer with a fine mesh or a piece of clean white muslin. Tie closed. Add the teabag and three cinnamon sticks in one quart of apple cider, apple or cranberry juice or red wine. Simmer gently for 15-20 minutes. Serve hot! (Makes four tea bags, enough for four quarts of juice or wine.)
It’s become sort of traditional with me to give certain special people a home crafted drink of some kind. Here are some of the things I’ve done. (These are really a lot easier than they look! And it’s all about the fun factor!)
This one can be for the grown-ups or the kids. Fill a jar with Twizzlers (please don’t revoke my Real Foodies Club Card. It’s once a year, people.) and attach a note that says “Twiz” the Season To Be Jolly! If you are giving it to a grown-up, add vodka. Within just a few days the vodka tastes just like Twizzlers!
The important thing to remember is this: DO NOT STRESS! The things you create with your hands should be done as an extension of your heart. It’s about love, love, love. So, banish ideas about perfection and concentrate on the act of creating something unique and from your heart. Christmas is right around the corner. REMEMBER WHAT BUDDY SAYS: