Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Abundance

Per our family tradition we opened our gifts on Christmas Eve morning. Despite our small budget I do believe that this year the gifts were the most meaningful. I can remember countless times as a child (even as an adult) where after the gift unwrapping extravaganza, surrounded by wrapping paper and gift chaos, feeling disappointed. It was a difficult feeling to understand because I often would get at least one gift item that I wanted. Thinking back on it now it seemed like coming down from a sugar high of all the excitement and anticipation. Maybe I am growing up, but this year I cared more about seeing the happiness on the faces of those I gave to.

We follow a tradition of only giving four gifts: something you want, something you need, something to share, and something to remind you of Christ. At least one of those items needs to be handmade. With our $15/person budget here is how we did.

Ravenna received a shopping cart and wooden fruit for the want gift (Goodwill), puzzles for the need (Garage sale), and Candyland to share. To remind her of Christ I made a Nativity scene Advent calendar that I will post pictures of later. We were able to stretch the budget in this case because someone kindly gave us a gift card so Ravenna also got a small tea set.

Andrew's gifts seem small but that is because of them never arrived which was his "want" gift (CURSE you USPS!). He received Penzey's grilling spices to share, razors and the knitted hat for the need and the advent calendar was made for him too.

 Andrew's gifts to me were so well thought out and really kind. For the gift to share he got me a spider plant, for my want a used copy of the Encyclopedia of Country Living, steaks for the "need" he he he, and a really cool carved nativity he commissioned from one of his students. We were delighted to see that Andrew bought me steaks and I bought him steak seasoning!

While this isn't the most impressive Christmas gift showing I am so happy with it. I feel so happy that we succeeded at our goal and nobody felt deprived. This season has been so joyful for me as I busily went about imagining and creating gifts for our loved ones. It also has been so nice to not be very concerned about the receiving. I know we won't always need to be in the position to have a small Christmas budget but I have to say, I think I want to do a $15 Christmas again next year!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Handmade Christmas Linky Love!

As promised here is a rather short list of some of my (recent) favorite handmade gift resources. I will happily add more as I find them (or you send them to me). I have others that I am currently making so I don't want to post them lest prying eyes discover their Christmas gifts!

Make your own vanilla extract! I am totally doing this for myself!
Gifts from Nature are always great with kids.
Inspired Ideas, has tons of cute projects and includes all the patterns and directions!
Knitted Monogrammed dishcloths!
14 free patterns at STC Craft.

Just for fun: given that this is the first week of Advent check out Wee Folk Art's Advent celebration.