Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Homemade Gifts

I know, I know. It's only October. However, I feel that this is ultimately necessary. So, bear with me for a moment as we talk Christmas Gifts.

My husband’s immediate family includes 12 grandchildren ages 4 weeks to 5 years, along with his three siblings, their spouses, his parents, 2 living grandparents, and DH’s godparents. That’s 24-ish people just on my husband’s side. Fortunately my side of the family is a bit smaller. But trust me when I say we are all on very, very tight budgets. We've tossed around ideas over the past few years ranging from one Dollar Store gift per child, to Secret Santas or pulling numbers. None of those really sat well with any of us for various reasons. This year we’re focusing on homemade, from the heart gifts. Nothing fancy as most of us aren't as crafty as we dream of being and, unfortunately, craft supplies can become very expensive.

The important thing for us is to have the kids involved. We really want to instill in them a giving heart…and giving means more than grumbling through the department store just trying to find something that fits your budget and wouldn’t seem like a completely ridiculous gift. I know that when I say “homemade gifts” a lot of people have horror flashes of Martha Stewart-esque ensembles that most people either don’t have the time for, don’t have the money for, or don’t have the talent for. A homemade gift can really be as simple or as ornate as you want it to be. Some people really enjoy getting super crafty. I personally love making homemade things, but I have 3 children ages 4 and under and as much as I try to kid myself, sometimes I just have to admit that I can’t do it all.

Here’s what we’ve decided on this year:

I’m giving the kids each 2 large squares of fleece, with their names either sewn on or drawn on with fabric markers, and some polyfil to go inside. I’ll be cutting the edges to make “tie your own pillow” kits, sort of like a tie your own blanket kit. Then just stuff with the polyfil and you’re done! They can practice tying knots and at the end have the sense of accomplishment of having made their own pillow. This is something all of my children will be able to take part in, from choosing the color of fleece for each cousin to preparing the kits.

For adults we’ll be making lavender wheat bags. Essentially it’s 2 pieces of fabric sewn together like a pillowcase and filled with wheat (dried beans, rice, barley etc all work fine as well) and lavender, then sew completely closed to make an aromatic heating pad. They can be tossed in the microwave to heat and they smell nice as well. My oldest 2 children (ages 3 and 4) will be able to help me fill the bags with the wheat and lavender.

For other ideas try doing a search on Pinterest for homemade gifts. also has some really awesome ideas.

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