Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas among the nails, glue and sweat

We wish you a hand-made Christmas
We wish you a hand-made Christmas
We wish you a hand-made Christmas
And a AA-battery-free New Year

A few years ago we finally drew a line in the sand with Christmas spending. We felt it was getting out of control, and that it was also loaded with the potential to become a festive competition.

It was at this time that we began to explore the realm of home-made Christmas presents. It's now become a bit of a ritual in our house: panic sets in around the start of December when we discover that there's a pile of presents to make, and no elves to execute the work (just two dumb bunnies).

It's normally a combination of arsty-crafty (painted and glittered this-and-that for the kids) through to recipes in a jar (if you're a friend, you've been warned) through to wooden productions (stools, bowls, chopping boards etc.) through to gifts of time (our gift to you is that we come around to your place with two screaming children and eat your food - for a whole day).

So how do you keep it fresh? Does anyone else out there do the home-made present thing? We try to make sure our presents aren't entirely useless (unfortunately no one in the family will give us an honest opinion on that one!), but we want our Christmas gifts to be creative and fun too.

So if you're digging through old boxes, visiting the craft store, warming up the pottery wheel, chopping down trees, eyeing off unused birthday presents - throw us some suggestions. How do you make it creative?

1 comment:

Jemimah said...

*shrug* I recall always making presents for school friends. Till I was ordered by one of them one year to spend the $10 on something store-bought. If only she'd known she was getting an Early Original handmade Jemimah Irvin object. Teenagers are SO ungrateful.

So anyway, I can only offer my own principles of design (influenced a bit by the Arts and Crafts Movement) that it needs to be:
a) Different to mass-produced
b) Functional
c) Decorative, front and back.

I'm quite fond of the food option as a gift. Particularly if it's something you can't get easily at the stores, or is a tad unusual. I loved doing the handmade spice mixes and would next time gift them with a tried and tested recipie.

The offer to share your skills is an under used gift, I think. Cara once gifted me with driving lessons, but never really did deliver ;) I should have done that for Abs last year!

But maybe if there is something you do well, and it's something you know someone else wants to learn, you could offer them a set of 8 1hr lessons. Community colleges charge up to $200 for a term where your learning with 20 other people! Or maybe, if you're that way inclined, you could offer to assist with their taxes/budgets/home renno/IKEA Instruction Interpretation/etc