Guest Author - Jacqueline Rosenbalm
Let’s face it, we live in a high tech, high stress, fast paced world. The holiday gives us a chance to separate ourselves from that world and allows us to temporarily step back into a slower, less stressful time and place we can enjoy with our families. Nothing warms the heart and soul like homespun holiday decorations or gifts made from nature’s bounty. They are extremely affordable and make Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa special. It creates warm memories for children accustomed to living in our commercial high-tech environment.
The simple beauty of pine boughs, pine cones and holly that decorate tables, fireplace mantles, stair railings and doors are both beautiful and give the home a wonderful evergreen aroma we tend to associate with the holidays. Christmas tree ornaments made from twigs can take the shape of crosses, stars, deer and tiny chairs. Old clothes can be recycled into tiny stuffed ornaments in the shape of Christmas stockings, stars, gingerbread men and candy canes. You are only limited by your imagination and you can draw on your own past Christmas memories. What do you remember most from you past childhood Christmases that you want to pass along to your children?
Making garland to decorate a tree using popcorn, cranberries and dried orange slices can be a great way to reconnect younger children with older siblings. Dried apple roses, cinnamon sticks, acorns and dried lemon slices will also make a wonderful smelling decorative garland. Cut cookie dough into shapes of Santa, reindeer, stars, bells, stockings, candy canes and angels; when baked and decorated they make tasty eatable ornaments along with candy canes and ribbon candy.
Ribbons and simple bows made from burlap or scrap materials can add a festive touch to the tree, ornaments or home decorations. If you are handy with a crochet hook, ornaments can be crocheted from thread or yarn and stiffened for use on the tree. You can use old ornaments that might not be as shiny any longer and cover them with crocheted thread or glitter creating a new life from old things. Thrift shops provide many opportunities to reclaim older items for this type of project with little expense.
Victorian fan ornaments can be made from left over wallpaper or Christmas wrapping paper simply by folding it into a fan shape, gluing the bottom and adding a small bit of lace, thread, yarn or fringe. Old Christmas cards, calendars and magazines can be cut and used in similar ways.
Christmas doesn't have to be expensive to be beautiful and the gifts can be home-made as well. It is said that “it is the thought that counts” in gift giving, imagine the thought that went into creating a hand crafted gift over a ready-made gift.
Some hand crafted gift ideas:
Knit or crochet:
A) Hat, scarf and mitten set
B) Lap blanket or throw
C) Hand-made ornaments
D) Skirt or dress
E) Lacy wrap
F) Handcrafted kitchen set or dish cloths
G) Doggie sweater or doggie toy
Home Baked Goods:
A) Banana bread, beer bread, sour dough bread etc.
B) Hand decorated Christmas cookies
C) Home-made pies and other treats
A) Memory quilt
B) Place mats and table runner set
C) Quilted throw
D) Stuffed toy
E) Hand-made clothing item
F) Quilted bag or clutch
G) Doggie coat or basket
A) Custom crafted bird house or bird feeder
B) Decorative wooden cutting board
C) Hand crafted set of wooden spoons or bowls
D) Furniture items
A) Scented Bath Basket: Special scented soap, lotions, bubbling bath oils
B) Spa Basket: Felted soaps, eye masks, facial masks, spa gift card
C) Treat Basket: Homemade cookies, candies and breads
D) Home-brew Basket: Home-brewed wine or beer, cheeses and crackers
E) Beverage Basket: Assorted flavored coffees or hot chocolates,
F) Candy Basket: Assorted Handmade chocolates
G) Fruit Basket: Assortment of fresh fruits
H) Animal Lover Basket: Doggie sweater, toys and doggie or cat treats
I) Assortment of all the above mentioned items tailored to fit the recipient
I hope you found this helpful and my best wishes for the season. I hope you enjoy creating a wonderful homespun Christmas or holiday tradition.