The Giving Spirit
Gifts… what to get, who wants what, does anybody in my life really need more stuff?! These are the questions I ask myself every November as I start to prepare for Christmas.
I’ve always loved giving gifts, finding that perfect something for that perfect someone, but for the last few years I’ve found myself becoming increasingly flustered and stressed with gift giving. I’m not sure if it’s that I’ve simply run out of ideas for cool stuff to buy or if everyone in my life has run out of room for all that cool stuff. Either way, I’ve decided to change my gift giving tune.
Last year none of the adults in my family exchanged gifts. Instead we all saved that money and went on the most remarkable family vacation ever! This year we decided to do the same, but I was feeling a little gift giving withdrawal. I knew I didn’t want to get online or muddle through the Christmas shopping crowds to buy things for my family that again no one needs, but what about something priceless? Like something from my hands and my heart? So what I came up with was a handmade gift exchange.
It may sound a bit daunting to those of you who aren’t as in to crafting and cooking as I am, but as the idea took form I realized there are many, many, ways to give a meaningful gift to those you love that doesn’t cost much more than your time and creativity.
My husband promised to make me a shoe rack for my winter boots. My sister makes the best eye make up remover and body scrubs. My aunt has a great decorating eye and is gifting me her time and energy to help me decorate for the holidays. My father has thousands of fun family photos he could easily make into an album for all of us. You don’t have to be able to sew, knit, cook or craft to make a meaningful gift for someone you love. You just have to be a little creative and play to your strengths!
So onto my gift ideas for this year!
I knew I wanted everything to be handmade and I do love a theme, so I decided to put together gift crates that speak to a specific idea. I hit up Pinterest for inspiration, instructions and recipes and built individual boards for each crate so I could keep all those great ideas organized. The only problem with Pinterest is that I’m so insanely obsessed with it that I can spend days just gathering ideas and pinning them but never actually doing any of it! I will not fall prey to the Pintrap this time!
Once I gathered and organized all my ideas I made sure I purchased everything I’d need for each crate so there would be no excuse not to get going! So far I’ve decided to do five different gift crates. If all goes well I may add a few more, if all goes wrong I may just do two and give duplicate gifts.
I’m doing one for the tea lovers in my life that will include homemade tea blends, a couple of hand decorated mugs, a set of hand sewn tea towels, homemade shortbread and coffee cake mixes in mason jars instructions for baking included, a homemade candle and knitted hand warmers to keep you cozy while you sip your tea.
The next crate will be for the cooks in my life and will include hand sewn aprons, dish towels, homemade herb infused oils and vinegars, homemade jams, chutneys and curds and the recipes I used for everything and ideas on what you can use the jams, chutneys and curds for. I have another gift crate for those who love a clean sweet smelling kitchen. This one will have my homemade counter spray and wipes, glass cleaner, dish detergent, dish soap, hand soap, pots and pans cleaner, a couple of handmade candles, knitted dish rags and towels and of course recipes to recreate it all when you run out.
As I’m sure you’ve noticed these gift ideas are all a bit feminine, so for the men in my life I came up with the mixologist gift crate that will include homemade flavor infused simple syrups, homemade flavored infused vodka, cocktail glasses with my own creative twist, homemade crackers and nut mixes, and some fun cocktail recipe ideas. My father is a teetotaler who loves chocolate and sweets so his gift crate will have homemade fudge, all his favorite Christmas cookies, several different cookie mixes in mason jars and homemade truffles.
I realize the task I’ve set ahead of myself is a wee bit overwhelming! Soooooo… if I don’t get to all of this by December 25th then I will have to scale back the scope of each gift crate, or like I said scale back the number of different crates I’m doing. The good news is that many things like the candles, jams, oils, simple syrups, hand sewn dish towels (that I’ve already started thank God!), teas, cleaning supplies, chocolates, cookies, and fudge can all be made in bulk. So I can dedicate a day to candles and make enough to store for future gifts, a day for teas, a day for jams and so on and so on.
We’ll see if I manage to pull the gift crates off and still maintain my Christmas spirit and humor! I’ll let you know how it all turns out! XOXO