Thursday, July 31, 2008

Contemplating Christmas Giving

Whew! After four straight nights of jam making, the nectarines are mostly gone and we have 20 jars of nectarine jam for Christmas giving (and some to keep, I hope). It has been so much fun and I have big plans for making more jam as other fruit in the yard ripens (probably soon). So with all this jam on board, it doesn't seem to soon to contemplate Christmas gifts.
I have lots of thoughts on Christmas giving.
:: I believe in handmade because it is heartfelt and it is personal.
:: I believe in consumables (like the jam) because I don't ever want to burden someone with a gift they hate but they feel they have to keep a long time. With consumables (like jam, or soap, or granola, or Christmas cookies) they use it up, it's gone, they go back to their normal lives.
:: And I believe in natural materials too so instead of sitting in the landfill forever when the gift is no longer useful, it will return to the earth (as is the case with cotton or wood or glass).
:: I heartily believe in books, and that is what I often like to get.
So, we have the jam, and I'm enjoying beginning to think of gifts I can sew as well. Some things that have caught my eye:
:: handmade napkins
:: felted rocks
:: patchwork coasters
:: fabric bookmarks (to make with the children) (scroll down)
:: fabric toadstools
:: matryoska dolls
:: fabric headbands
:: fabric ornaments
:: and my favorite, fabric pears

These are just some things that have caught my eye since last Christmas, for possible making and giving this Christmas. The photos here are all things I've made in the past (except the jam of course).

What are you planning on making for Christmas gifts this year? And what do you believe in when it comes to Christmas giving?

24 comments:

Elfin Goddess said...

Merci, merci, merci!!! I had just gotten started on my list. I esp want to try handmade gifts for immediate family. I cant remember when someone last gifted me something handmade, but I know the feeling- it makes the thought and the gift seem so special! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Will conjure up my list soon :) Cheerio!

driftwood said...

your gift ideas are lovely, and it's great that you are getting organised already, I leave it all to the last minute. I love to give cookies, and last year we gave little (3inch) decorated fruit cakes. this year I hope to do some sewing, and shall check out all your links!

Hannah said...

Ah... Christmas - my favourite subject!
My son and I like to make little boxes with a selection of home made sweets or chocolates to give as gifts. This year I think we are going to try out some indian sweets.
I'm also in the process of making some 12 days of Christmas rings (as in The Children's Year and other books) as I think it's such a lovely idea and can be personalised and reused for many years.

Teaching Handwork said...

I wish I was as craft on the machine as you are...I love the fabrics!!!

Rachel said...

I love the fabrics you have used for those little zipper pouches! And I really like your Christmas philosophy - in this consumer society everyone has so much that, whilst they may not "need" a particular thing, if it's handmade it will mean so much more. Not sure what I'll be doing for the kids this year (they still have birthdays yet to come), but for the rest of our family I'm going to try and give handmade gifts.
:)

Sarah said...

Four nights in a row - wow! I think jam is a wonderful gift. This year I am hoping to make things for my kids, but I'm taking the easy route for the rest of my family. I'm planning to give them all a couple of Chico Bags (reusable shopping bags that I LOVE) and some baked item such as cookies or bread. I love the handmade/consumable/natural gift philosophy!

Meg said...

I love, love, love the ideas you have, and I was just telling my husband last weekend that I wanted to give handmade things this year (as I was knitting a scarf). It means more to me to give a gift that I planned in July and made in August--I don't feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I give a gift card!

One of the difficulties I'm having is giving to my teenage nephew and niece--you have kids in that age range--what do they like? I'm mostly going with scarves, hats and fingerless gloves, since they're in NJ and it (usually) gets cold.

I can't wait to check out your links, and I love the pictures of your past gifts!

ames said...

I am so in love with the color of that jam! And your fabric stash must have some really wonderful prints in it :)

I'm all about the homemade gifts too, I think this year many people will be getting knitted socks, though I've got my eye on a gardening tote pattern for my mom, and will quite possibly be making truffles for the crowd, in pretty boxes of course.

kirsten said...

how funny! i just made my Christmas project list last night. we're dying playsilks for cousins, hopefully doing silhouettes for the grandparents (and me!!!), and some gocco stuff for my sibs. oh, and tissue holders for teachers again... the kids will be getting pencil rolls or notebook + pencil holders, maybe a stuffed toadstool (different version).

your pouches are awesome - lovely fabric choices.

MamaBlogger said...

how funny - i was just thinking about starting on christmas gifts when i woke up this morning! i like the idea of starting with enough time so i actually get some sleep in the weeks/days/hours before Christmas!

mommio @ www.kiddio.org said...

Oh, I so agree. Handmade is lovely, and I just love to give things that people can eat, use up, or enjoy without having something else that they just don't need. We often ask for tickets to a play, zoo memberships, or other experiences that the kids would enjoy and will be memorable but not more clutter.
I've been canning too with the thought that they'll be lovely gifts when the weather is cold and such delicious fruit is in short supply!
take care!

www.kiddio.org

Julie said...

What great handmade gift ideas! I would love to try my hand at something crafty and simple this year.

Its_Lily said...

Love the ideas and I've come up with a few of my own, but I'm struggling with what to give to the men. What to do? Suggestions?

Shannon said...

Oh! You are so smart to start thinking about Christmas! I think I will too.... and lately for Christmases we have been too poor to give many gifts to our huge extended family, but with my fabric and paper stash, and your great ideas, I think I may just be able to have a great giving year this year! Hurrah!

Polly said...

I agree making things for people at Christmas is so much better, you explained it very well. My current favourite is toiletries bags, extremely simple to make, a rectangle of lovely fabric, with shower curtain lining to make the inside waterproof. I close mine with cord and a toggle and I can't resist putting a matching reversible headband inside too! Depending on the person I might also include two clear plastic bottles for them to put their own shampoo and conditioner in, and a toothbrush holder. My sister and I once made our dad Marmalade for father's day because he LOVES marmalade and he said it was delicious. I also like to make coasters, placemats, and handbags. I'd like to have a go at making slippers too. P x x x

Melissa said...

Great post! Thanks for all of the wonderful links. My list of Christmas gifts to make just grew! I started making Christmas gifts last week, and I just posted about my 1st completed gift here: http://chasingcheerios.blogspot.com/2008/08/scrapbook-paper-memory-game.html
I started making a baby doll quilt for my daughter this afternoon, and I am also planning on making a doll diaper bag with diapers, cloth wipes, and a small doll for her baby doll. For the grandmothers, we are painting Christmas aprons using O's handprints. We are also painting dish towels, maybe napkins, and wooden bracelets for O's grandmas. For her grandaddies, we will make chocolate covered coffee beans, and I think I'll have her do a few paintings on canvases for their offices. Felt food is also on my list for O, my niece, and my friend's boys.
I really enjoy reading your blog, and thanks again for the great ideas!

MoziEsmé said...

I'm totally in agreement with you on handmade consumable gifts. One year I gave a personally selected book to each family member with a crosstitch bookmark, and that was my most fun giveaway yet.

Thanks for the reminder to get started on things now already . . .

Jessica said...

I have certainly started to think about making Christmas gifts. I had plans to start them last month but life got busy. You made a great list of craft ideas. I've been thinking about making those pears as little ornament gifts to give with all that jam I made.

hanna said...

That jam looks gorgeous! And I love the journals you made, I'll be adding those to my Christmas giving list. Thankyou too for the toadstool link - I have to make some! maybe even today! so cute!
I plan on making vintage sheet pj pants for my sisters (I've already found some cool sheets!). My mum may get a set of ENVIROSAX shopping bags. My mother in law is getting some beautiful locally made olive oil and knitted cotton dishcloths. My dad is getting one of those little wooden tools for making paper pots for raising seedlings in and some heirloom seeds. I'm also thinking handmade soap, books, wooden toys for the children and maybe some handmade Etsy goodness.

littlegreen said...

I love that you are starting your Christmas planning... I am too! We are blessed to be having our first little baby in November so I am feeling especially in need of advanced preparation this year... Some of my ideas are the following:
Simple waist aprons with patchwork pocket detail, jewelry bags, felt crowns for the kiddos, oven mitts, beaded necklace, soldered necklace, etc... I am still working on ideas, but I need to get going on a few things pretty soon here. I did crayon roll-ups for the kiddos last year and they were a huge hit!!

Barbara said...

I love your ideas for Christmas giving. I have much the same feelings about presents, giving and receiving, so I'm already thinking about, and working on, some. Aprons, grocery bags, lavender bags, handmade books - simple stuff really. Also my girl likes to make sweets, biscuits and package them nicely. Love your jam, it looks like jewels.

Carrie said...

Yes,I agree with you totally with your reasoning behind consumable gifts! I also like to give primarily books as you do. We just made tons of blackberry jam because that's what we have an abundance of-I never thought to give it away as a gift-great idea!

Chris said...

i haven't thought about christmas gifts - but i suppose you are right, now is a good time to get started! and that jam looks so beautiful, i think i want to make some myself!

Colleen said...

I think you are wonderful. Thank you for reminding me that Christmas is approaching. It seems crazy but you've put the thought into my head that I better start planning some things to make. I have really just started embracing handmade over this past year and I want to incorporate more handmade items (whether by me or my favorite Etsy sellers) to give to others this year. Thanks for your thoughts.