OK folks, I've threatened it for years .... and now 2010 is the year for the first Annual Homemade Christmas! Call it "Homemade Christmas From the Heart" or something along those lines. Out with commercialism, in with Homemade from the Heart!
There are a lot of reasons why 2010 is a good year to plan for homemade gifts: I don't want to see gifts I've bought and paid for end up in a yard sale; the national economy is grim; I will probably lose my job; we really don't need as much as we want; etc.
Some of my best Christmas memories didn't involve expensive gifts.
Grandma Gray had scads of grandchildren and great-grandchildren and yet she managed to give everyone a gift at Christmas on a low fixed income. I asked her how she did it and she said she shopped throughout the year, buying items on sale and stockpiling them and making handmade gifts throughout the year as well. One of my all-time favorite gifts that I ever received and that I used for years, literally until it fell apart, was a "tote bag" for lack of a better term. She used the base of a plastic sherbet container and punched holes around the top edge and crocheted a "tube" about 6-8 inches up with a drawstring to close the tube. Thus, a tote. I loved that thing! I think she made a bunch of them. Mary says she thinks hers was made from a plastic milk jug. Grandma Gray made Christmas tree skirts, tablecloths (Dana has a beautiful one she made with net/tulle and felt and cardinals sewed on it if I recall correctly), dolls, Barbie doll clothes, Christmas stockings, embroidered felt door knob thingys, and so on. I particularly loved the topsy-turvy" doll that she made me. I found a pattern for it on Ebay and plan to make it for one or more granddaughters!
These gifts could not be bought with money and they are the ones I remember so well. I'd like to leave those memories with my children and grandchildren.
Even if you're not "crafty" there are LOTS of things that can be made. Here's a quick list of things that come to mind:
1. Christmas Decorations, such as wreaths, stockings, ornaments, etc. The great thing about this type of gift is that if the recipient doesn't love it, they only have to drag it out once a year!!
2. Aprons - they are so IN right now and very practical. Make them with Christmas fabric that will be on clearance soon.
3. Kitchen or "Tea" Towels. Everyone needs them. Make them to match the recipient's kitchen theme/color or make Christmas theme towels. I made some this past year and I will post a "tutorial" soon.
4. Slippers. Who doesn't always need slippers?? They can be made pretty much with scraps leftover from other projects. I scoured the internet and found free patterns. Watch for a tutorial coming soon.
5. Other sewing gifts that are fairly "safe" - meaning the recipient is likely to actually use them - and would be appreciated would be a robe, nightgown, after-bath wrap, bath pillow.
6. Food gifts are always great to receive and anyone can put them together. You could make something like cookies, bread, jelly, pickles, etc. or make up "mixes". There are lots of mix recipes on the internet for free. It's all in the presentation. Use canning jars and layer the ingredients, or use a cute gift box and put the ingredients in zip-lock bags. Look for decorative plates or other containers throughout the year at yard sales.
7. Bath products. The ingredients are available everywhere and recipes are available on the internet for free. Look for jars and containers at yard sales throughout the year.
8. Lap Robe or Throw Blanket. I saw instructions to make a lap robe out of fleece on the internet. The pattern included a "pocket" in which the blanket is folded up and tucked into so that when not used it looks like a pillow. If you leave off the pocket no sewing is involved at all.
9. How about a set of handmade cards or stationery along with a calendar with family member's birthdays and anniversary's already jotted down?
10. Search the internet - especially people's blogs - to find more inspiration! Martha Stewart's website has tons of ideas too.
The gifts that can be made are only limited by your imagination!
So, anyone want to join in the challenge?? Don't wait till December! Start now by making a list of the people to whom you want to give gifts and jot down notes about what you could make for them. Start looking for materials in that pile of stuff that's destined for the next yard sale (maybe repurpose fabric from some old clothes?), go to the Christmas clearance sales at the craft stores now and shop at yard sales throughout the year. Just get started!