Are you or have you been.......

budsterNovember 9, 2007

making your own Christmas gifts? I have in the past and try to make a couple of special gifts for a couple of close friends who appreciate my efforts. There are so many talented people out there if you have decided to go "home made" for gifts this year....what are you doing? My own gifts this year will be baskets ... with some jams, baked goods and the like. Just wondering what our crafty ones have been up to.... Budster

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Since going green is on everybody's mind now, I am thinking of making handkerchiefs and monogramming a logo or initial on them. I can do most of it by hand during advertisements.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2007 at 2:34PM
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A few years ago my husband made drying racks for washed/reused plastic bags. Take a wood plaque/board for the base (you can find them at hobby stores or you can make them yourself - about 3"x6" or there abouts, and about 3/4-inch thick) and drill 3 holes (evenly spaced apart) and glue 3 wooden dowels in the base. We used varying lengths (up to 10 or 12-inches). On the top of each dowel was a tiny wooden bird house (purchased at a hobby store for little $). I've also seen them in catalogs with a wooden tulip shape on the top of them.

The same year I knit dish cloths for everyone. Our adult daughter and her best buddy who also got this gift, said it was the best gift that year.

I've also knit sets of scarves, hats, and mittens for the children in the family. When our son was a Sr. in high school I knit all his friends a pair of mittens. The kind that had the long string attached to them so that they could dangle from their coat sleeve - like little children used to have. They were a hit, and everyone wanted to know where THEY could get cool mittens like that. I also tucked pre-paid phone cards (this was before cell phones - 1994) and movie passes in them.

Four years ago when those fashion knit scarves were all the rage, I knit them non-stop for months. Sold a ton of them, and gave them to every female on our gift list.

We've made wooden game boards (a marble game called WaHoo), magazine racks, wreaths, shoe shine kits, hat racks.

A SIL's favorite was beverage stir sticks from long cinnamon sticks (good for cocoa or spiced cider). We painted a very simple, skinny, snowman on the top 1/4-1/3 of the cinnamon stick using acrylic paints - black stovetop hat, white head and body with tiny details drawn on with a small Sharpie marker. We tied a ripped piece of plaid cloth (a tiny woven plaid - about 1/2-inch wide and 4-inches long) around the neck for a scarf. We gave these with an inexpensive holiday mug that was filled with a small plastic bag of homemade cocoa mix and the cinnamon stir stick.

We've made lots of ornaments for the tree, as well. They are nice for attaching to gift baskets, and sometimes they can be used for the gift tag.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2007 at 5:15PM
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Right now, I am spinning yarn to knit an afghan for DD and SIL for their new home. And I'm weaving a coordinating basket to store it in.

I'll probably also knit him a set of golf club covers.

Friends will be getting homemade baskets with homemade jams, a loaf of homemade bread and farmfresh eggs. Instant breakfast gifts.

DH -- is another story. I'm not certain on that one. But we always make our gifts ourselves. I know I am getting a wooden wagon.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2007 at 5:25PM
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My family doesn't appreciate home made gifts. At least I wouldn't think so . My only family is my Brother & Sister .... one little nephew & niece . Technology spoiled these kids. My Bro & Sis & the niece and nephew ... are the same way . Handmade means Nothing to them. I guess it's a new era. ( for some ) I bet I speak for alot of people .. Home made thngs are a thing of the past for my family . I miss the old days ...when someone made things from the heart . Luckily , I visit different forums on the
Garden web ... there are a couple forums that feel as I do ...and we have a Christmas Exchange going. Gifts made with the heart ... This gives me the Old Fashioned feeling . I wish Christmas was back like it was years ago ~~~

    Bookmark   November 9, 2007 at 6:43PM
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My husband's brother's wife used to make Christmas ornaments every year for family members. I really liked the things she gave me. simple yet nice, and something you could put on your tree year after year. Then my two SILs said they thought it was "cheap" to give hand-made gifts.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2007 at 5:49PM
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I think I would say to the SIL's to take me off the gift list. I would hate to think with that sort of mindset. Amongst our friends more and more are reducing the amount of cards sent, gifts bought, money spent.....and they seem to enjoy the holidays as much as anyone else. A creative gift and one where someone obviously has given thought and not a dollar amount seems to give more pleasure. Whatever your personal mindset, I do wish you the joy of the holidays. Budster

    Bookmark   November 10, 2007 at 11:19PM
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Homemade gifts..... yes, we've done that. We (mom, sis and I) also did a Christmas where you had to give something "previously loved". That one was so much fun.

Homemade ones were "Brownies in a jar" Also "bean soup in a jar".... not bad soup and looked pretty cause we layered the beans in little designs.... We've also done "snowman soup".... with a nice cup.... that one was fun. There's a poem on line that goes with it... it was cute. (Hot cocoa, with a candy cane stirrer, and a couple of hershey's kisses to really chocolate up the cocoa) I've made blankets, dolls, jammies, etc... Made a calendar for the Grandparents one year.... ok, bought the calendar, but went through it and marked ALL the kid's and grandkid's birthdays, his anniversary for grandpa (he forgets) =0) other important, to them, days.

Best received one was probably the year that my dad moved to the area, and was arriving the day before Christmas. (so not time to decorate or get a tree or anything), so we took our old fake tree over, and the kids worked for a solid day making Christmas ornanments..... out of pine cones, ribbons, construction paper, etc... I think the whole thing cost me a couple of strings of lights. They made snowflakes out of plain paper and taped them to the walls/windows. They really had a blast! Dad appreciated it, his wife cried.... in a good way. Nothing fancy, but they still put those decorations up every year.

We'll be making a lot of the Christmas presents this year too. Though I cheated this year and ordered some "kits" for the kids to make stuff from. =0)

Frankly, if someone turned their nose up at our Christmas offerings, I'd probably move that person from our "gift" list to our "card" list.

Personally, I love gifts from the heart, no matter if they are store bought or homemade, or previously loved. In spite of the commercial mentality (they were putting out CHRISTMAS stuff in wal mart yesterday.... guess I should be thankful that they waited until after Halloween), it's just not what the season is about.

One final thought.... if you ask (or expect) someone who really can't afford to, to spend "x" amount of $$ on a gift, then I don't think that that is even reasonable. And since you really do not know anyone's personal finance situation..... I think that leaves "expecting" out of it entirely. I would totally hate it if someone went into debt to buy a Christmas gift for me. It would take every bit of joy out of the gift. Make me a plate of cookies, or just come over and spend the day.

Jannie: that bites. I'd have to tell the lady making the ornaments that you remember them and miss them....


    Bookmark   November 11, 2007 at 9:19AM
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People who require store-bought gifts are removed from my gift list. Food & drink. Best gifts of all. Most of the people I'd give gifts to (myself included) are trying to dejunk and declutter. So the trinkets that sit on a shelf are more of an insult than a gift from the heart. Consumables are great. Something they like and can use. I don't care if it's paper towels, dish soap or whatever, if it's something you like and use, it's a good gift. I like the "gift in a jar" items. Usually they're pretty good. I don't put up a tree so ornaments will just be thrown away. I don't keep or like to get more junk around. A bottle of champagne, wine, a case of beer, some candy or special type of meat, all are good gifts. And really goes back to the idea of gift giving. Friends with pets would or at least should appreciate a gift of pet food or cat litter and a lot more thoughtful than a mug saying "World's stupidest saying" on it! Even a can of coffee is thoughtful if that's what the person likes.

I like to bake things and put together a plate of different cookies and bars for someone. It's always been well received, and seldom thrown away. Add on some sausage, cheese and some great crackers and a nice bow is all the wrapping needed if even that.

Although one non-consumable I think would be a great gift is the Tightwad Gazette books.

That season is sure approaching quickly, eh?

    Bookmark   November 11, 2007 at 5:16PM
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It's been a tight year and a half for us. So this year I'm going 'homemade'. :)

I'm making Chai Tea Mix and put in a cute container. The recipe is off & is wonderful!! I am also making homemade dog bones for my friends/family fur babies. I think they will get a kick out of the dog getting something instead of them.

I love receiving homemade gifts! I have a cousin who makes those soups/cookies in the jars every year, and I don't know how she does it, but, they are always really good tasting & I always look forward to getting them.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2007 at 8:02PM
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I love getting homemade gifts. I have plenty of knickknacks,clothes, etc. It means a lot to me to get something from the heart.
Thanks for the Chai Tea recipe. I plan on making biscotti for someones Christmas gift and will put the tea mix in a pretty container to go along with the biscotti recipe. I guess I could also print the recipe out on a nice card for her.
The biscotti recipe is also on under cranberry pistachio biscotti. The Easy Decadent Truffles are also good.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2007 at 9:11PM
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I guess I should clarify that "purchased" gifts aren't necessarily bad, more the trinket, junk stuff that bugs me. I do think it's thoughtful for instance if someone buys an expensive type of candy for someone who truly enjoys it but can't afford it. Or whatever else. I just think a gift should be something they can use and want. Not just something picked up off the rack to put a checkmark in front of their name on the list because they feel compelled to "get them something". And you can be as frugal or extravagant as you care to be about it.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2007 at 5:02AM
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What wonderful ideas! I usually lurk, but wanted to join in on this discussion.

Last year I made cloth bookmarks for my kids' teachers and all my book buddies - they were a hit. My DD and I also make jewelry (though the materials can be expensive, I've learned to control myself in the crafts store) so all the ladies in the family and all my DD's friends got earrings for Christmas last year.

This year, many of the kids in the family have WebKinz stuffed animals, and we're making sleeping bags for them from fabric remnants - I'm hoping they'll be a big hit.

I also love homemade gifts, and one of the best ones I received was a bread-making basket from a friend who taught me to bake bread -- it included yeast, a five-pound bag of flour, and her own recipes. I loved it!

Food gifts are just the best, especially for family members who already have everything they want/need. No clutter!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2007 at 7:43AM
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My SIL goes like "experience gifts" such as passes to movies, a trip to the beauty spa, Blockbuster movie gift certificates,etc. She lives alone, doesn't drive, doesn't need clothes, doesn't appreciate anything homemade. I think I'll get her another Blockbuster gift cert this year. I was thinking of offering to drive her a few times, maybe that would be a good gift.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2007 at 11:26AM
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Pestee...the biscotti & truffles sound good! I may have to think about adding those with the Chai too. :)

It's great if you can personalize a gift for a person (like the bread basket or movie passes).

    Bookmark   November 12, 2007 at 11:41AM
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I don't make home made gifts unless it is home made candy for the hostess of the holiday dinner. I have made embroidered t-towels as gifts for people in the family, but not for holidays. We are so oooold in my family we don't give gifts anymore, we don't need anything anymore, especially knick/knacks.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2007 at 9:49PM
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Dora Vann Snider

One Christmas we all decided that all our presents to each other must be homemade. It was one of the best Christmases we ever had. It was so funny everyone scurrying around trying to get their presents done. Our three kids and two of their spouses were involved. What was so neat about it was that each one had made something different and so special. It was a lot of work but to hear the squeals from everyone was very rewarding.

That has been twenty years ago and they still talk about our neat homemade Christmas. We didn't do it again due to little people coming into our lives and it was too hard to find the time.

Dora Lou

    Bookmark   November 12, 2007 at 10:43PM
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I have the same sad experience with my MIL and others. She recently mentioned in conversation (forgetting that I give homemade gifts) that she displays homemade items for a period of time and then 'gets rid of them'. I wish she would at least TRY THEM!!!!

Homemade milk bath is not a cheap gift - the milk nor the essence, nor the oatmeal milk bath. Not to mention the handmade fabric bag. I give what I use myself so I test the item first to make sure the quality is there.

On my don't bother anymore list is chocolate spoons with hot chocolate, bath products, handmade xmas cards....

I would love to put the ingrate snob on a 'off my list' but she is my MIL. Now I just stick with the main purchased gift that DH gets his parents - we now ask them what they want. No fun in that at all!!!!!

This year I am making myself my own bath basket to myself under my tree.

DH keeps asking why I haven't made MIL that queen sized quilt for her bed I said I'd do years ago - why should I? After all, she doesn't appreciate home made gifts so why would I spend a couple of hundred on gorgeous fabric and time hand stitching a quilt for her? If she doesn't appreciate the small things, why on earth would I spend the time and effort on a larger item? Her loss. Bah Humbug to her! Which is funny because she loves shopping for xmas all year long for everyone.

You figure it out and let me know.

I appreciate everything I get because the gifts are from the heart.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2007 at 10:30AM
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I'm not at all crafty so don't make stuff like that. Nobody I know would want anything I would make:-)

mcpeg, Maybe your MIL doesn't like special baths? I know I wouldn't find that useful. I take my morning shower quickly and get it over with. I don't enjoy lounging in a bath:-) A true gift from the heart figures out what a person loves to do. I know I tend to think everybody likes what I like but I know that some books and plants I've given in the past were not really appreciated as much as I would have appreciated them!

Gifts should somehow relate to the person. I much, much prefer practical gifts and gifts that "do" something, like blenders. I don't like to get jewelry, fancy clothes, things that just sit on a shelf to be looked at. I also like books but only certain topics, etc. We only exhange gifts with our kids and spouses now. Our parents are among the "old and don't need anything" crowd :-) We do things for them instead of adding clutter to their lives.

One DD manages a book store and always gives the rest of us books. She knows what kind we all enjoy. I give her home made mixes for cornbread,etc. She is busy and appreciates these.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2007 at 12:37PM
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I'm thinking about making some Christmas cakes this year. I prefer to give lasting things, but this is something seasonal that I know people will use and enjoy. They're not cheap to make, certainly cost more than buying one (although they're much nicer), but the cost is well within budget and if you make several at once it's easier. Anyway, I'd rather be at home in my kitchen than out shopping in the crowds.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2007 at 4:19PM
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I did not mention that the hankies would serve as wrapping for homemade soap. I got a bar of goats' milk soap that was so wonderful. Later someone gave me a kitchen soap made with coffee grounds that was also wonderful. Both were nice presents.

My MIL gave us two quilts and a hooked rug over the years for Christmas. Those items are treasured even more now that she has passed away. My Mom used to make the most delicious white fruitcakes with lots of pecans and cherries. We looked forward to those every year. My Dad cooked the very best hams in the whole world and they were coveted presents. My sister's MIL made pounds of fudge and other candy. These gifts were homemade, but they were those people's specialties. They were truly gifts from the heart. A SIL made blowguns for all the kids one Christmas. It was a Christmas to remember. Nine months later, I called her when I found a miniature marshmallow under a heavy piece of furniture. Homemade is wonderful when it comes from the heart.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2007 at 8:35PM
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