By Larraine Roulston:
When someone in your family announces “Let’s all make Christmas gifts this year!”, it can be a rather daunting task for some. My husband, however, came through one year by learning to bake an apple pie and knit a small hot pad. This year, I happened to have a couple of old t-shirts that had physics and math symbols which were perfectly suited for my niece and her partner. With that thought, I made them two oven mitt covers. DIY gifts can be inexpensive and often take less time than trudging around a mall.
One of my favorite Green mama is Wellness Mama who offers over 35 natural and DIY Christmas gift suggestions, including instructions. All of these great ideas allow you to search under the categories that suit your family, time and budget.
I’ll share with you my own homemade gifts, as well as some of the ones that I have received:
Christmas cheer can take the form of your own homemade wine or liqueur. To make Baileys, crack 3 eggs into a blender and add 3 tablespoons of chocolate powder mix. While that is blending, add a few drops of almond extract, 1 pint of whipping cream, 1 can of Eagle Brand milk, then top with one cup of inexpensive rye whiskey. Bottle, add a bow and refrigerate until gift giving time.
My husband once gathered family photographs to print a black and white family calendar. Having a wood working hobby, he also has designed and built end grain cutting boards, trivets, and cheese serving trays. Our daughter and husband photographed my mother’s paintings and created a coffee table book. When my children were young, they often created hand drawn stationery. In our home, we’ve written poems, and created personalized word searches and puzzles.
My talents are knitting doll clothes, toys, slippers, mitts, scarves, hot pads, finger puppets, dishcloths, and blankets. By purchasing some fabric with printed patterns of food, it was easy to stitch little cloth bags to hold loose veggies when shopping. To use up fabric scraps, braided rag rugs and hot pads have also become seasonal gifts.
It’s always been a joy when we have received shortbread cookies, mincemeat pies, chocolate squares, jars of chili sauce and braided fruit breads. Our younger daughter has surprised us with a lovely over-the-knee quilt and hand painted ceramics. Our daughter-in-law creates appealing scented massage bars. My parents made us a musical tape cassette. A brother-in-law’s gifts have included homemade fruit leather as well as honey and beeswax gleaned from his beehives. My mother has given her paintings, while both our daughters love to create funky personalized greeting cards. From friends, I have received little cloth character dolls, a printed silk scarf, an abstract painting, greeting cards with photographed prints to serve as the design, and a monarch butterfly calendar with images of how to raise butterflies. Every Christmas for the past 40 years, I have utilized a card holder made from a large tin can with both ends removed and wool wrapped vertically inside and out.
For DIY individuals, with access to a kitchen, sewing machine, fabrics, wool, paper and pen, camera or computers, along with some imagination, you can create memorable gifts.
Also, a gift need not be something to consume or use. For instance, one year our young grandson memorized our favorite lengthy poem. This concept can be expanded to include a comical skit, playing a musical instrument or taking the family on a winter wonderland hike. Even if your homemade effort becomes a candidate for my favorite hilarious blog “Nailed It,” it truly will be the best.
Larraine authors children’s adventure books on composting at www.castlecompost.com