09 December 2011

Homemade Christmas gifts

Each year I make something to deliver to neighbors on Christmas Day and give to friends at church on Christmas Eve.  I also like to have some gifts ready on the shelf to take to Christmas open houses, dinner at friends' homes, or Christmas parties.  For the last two years, it's been homemade apple butter I made in October, with a homemade bead ornament  attached with a ribbon.  This year we will do jar gifts, but I haven't decided which recipe.  Here are some homemade gift ideas:

Prayer photo book:  This is something I have been meaning to do since my firstborn was in utero, and I think I'll actually do it this year.  The first few pages are prayers your family prays each morning or evening (a page for each prayer, and printed large and clearly, so reading children can read the prayers).  So our family will have p1.Ten Commandments  p2. Apostle's Creed p.3 Lord's Prayer p.4 Evening Prayer.  You can decorate with magazine cutouts or print out appropriate art.  Each page after those pages will be for a particular family, starting with our own, and moving outward to the grandparents, aunts and uncles with their significant others and cousins.  Then special neighbors, church families, our pastor's family, our kids' godparents (and our own godchildren and their families). Each page will just be a picture of the family we are praying for, or a particular prayer (our family often prays "for all the pregnant mommies and their babies"). Obviously the list could go on and on, and it can be adapted to suit your needs!  A great gift for a sibling expecting their first child!

Framed prayer or Bible verse (add art if you're artsy):  For a baptism gift, I print out Luther's Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer (from the Small Catechism) in a color matching the new baby's nursery, draw vines and flowers around the prayer (haven't made for a baby boy yet), and mat and frame.  I plan on hand-printing Psalm 128 for our dining room.  (Side note: you could find out the sermon text for an engaged couple's wedding, then print or write it out, and decorate with your own art, pressed flowers, etc.)

Handprint apron:  Each year the children 2 and older get to make Christmas cookies with Yiayia and Oma (our kids think "Grandma" is the plural form).  Last year I bought plain aprons at a craft store and had the cookie-making kids print their hands on them with fabric paint. I printed their names beneath their respective prints.  Next year, child #3 will add his hand when he joins the cookie posse.

Postcards:  Buy blank postcards from the post office and have your kids decorate or draw on the blank side. Tie a few together with a ribbon and give as gifts.  Or you could use them to write thank you notes after Christmas.

Jar Gifts
Cookie mix
Herbed Rice
Pancake mix
Bath salts
Vanilla Extract

Orange candles
Q-tip snowflakes
Dime Store games
Great blog  http://www.notmartha.org/tomake/

Other ideas I really liked, but more elaborate:
Play Table 

This is awesome (from a comment on getrichslowly.com):
"We are now writing a chapter of our family history each year. We’ll pick a topic, and each family member will write about it. One person plays “editor,” collecting the stories, and presents them all together for Christmas. We’ve written about our favorite Christmas (seven differing perspectives on the same year), the house we grew up in, and this year we’re writing about how we met our spouse. Last year, my Mom sent out her first draft of her entire life history."

Whew!  So what are your favorite homemade gifts, given or received?

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