Thursday, September 24, 2009

Handmade Holidays

It's that time of year, the nights are getting cooler, the days shorter, the leaves are turning. It's time to start working on Christmas presents. Oh yeah, and it's fall too! My favorite time of year! Jeremy and I have been doing homemade Christmas presents for several years now. I don't really remember how long, probably over 6 or 7 years. I think we really started when we began to have several nieces. We wanted to give them items that wouldn't be in the landfill by the next year, there is plenty of plastic fodder for the landfill monsters. We wanted to make them things they could use and enjoy that were durable and could possibly become keepsakes that they could hand down to their children one day and remember us fondly for making them that particular item. Jeremy did most of the intial presents making wooden toys including; climbing bears, jacob's ladders, willow the wisps, acrobats and tops. He also made each child their name cut out of wood and painted to match their rooms. He has also done book shelves and kid sized picnic tables made out of salvaged wood. I decided to help him on the gifts for nieces and nephews so that he wasn't left doing everything every year. I began sewing some gifts. First I made fleece hats and scarves in 2007 and last year I decorated canvas totes for each child (pictures below). I can't find any pics of the things Jeremy has made but will look and add if I find them. Other gifts we make are picture cd slideshows set to music of pictures of the last year. We don't live near our families so this is a good way to share our day to day lives with them. I also by very inexpensive calandars and paste pictures on to each month of the kids so the families can see them all year long. I also paint up wooden ornaments (that have windows to insert pictures in) and place pitures of the kids in them. I have also made candy and grapevine wreaths as presents in the past as well.

We have really enjoyed making Christmas gifts for our families. I won't lie, part of the reason we began this is because it is somewhat less expensive way to do Christmas gifts. However that won't be why we will continue to do this. It does take a lot of work and forethought and planning, however I feel like it is so much more meaningful to us and the reciever to know that we put all that time and work into a present just for them. I'd much rather be at home making something for someone that elbowing my way through the mall or walmart to get the latest plastic piece of crap! I know the kids may really want a DS game instead of a crummy hat that Aunt Jen made for them, but I think they will look back and realize that the homemade gifts meant a lot more. Merry Christmas!! And Happy Fall!

Presents of years past made by Aunt Jennifer

1 comment:

RusticOkie said...

Those are wonderful gifts, and a lovely post. I too love making handmade gifts for my friends and family. Year after year I see the kids getting tired of their must have toy within days of Christmas and them being thrown in the back of the closet with the rest of the junk. Sure handmade bags, embroidered bathrobes and journals may not be as exciting as a new electronic gift but I hope that when they are older they will look back and understand.

I wish more people would take the time to think of the people they are giving gifts to and put such thought and love into each gift.