I'm jealous. I am! I wish I could do that, just one year. It would be so simple. But I can't. It's too impersonal. It's too expensive. It's too commercial. At least, that's what my heart says. I just can't do it. (Note: good for you, if this is your style. I receive such gifts very happily.;-) )
Instead, I try to give everyone a home made Christmas gift. I want every gift to be special, heart-felt, and full of love. It doesn't always work and having four brother-in-laws doesn't help. (Homemade for men is much harder for me....) Plus, as I get older, my family keeps growing. It's not just my mom, dad, and sister anymore like it was when I was a kid. Now, it's my sister's whole family, my husband's whole family, and their whole families... It's a lot. Just in our immediate family (grandmas and girlfriends included) I've got 8 women, 5 men, and four kids under 5. I'm sure I've forgotten someone.... And that's not including cousins, close friends, my daughter's teachers, and on and on and on. (Plus, my mom and mom-in-law both have December birthdays. Goodness gracious!) That puts me at 19 homemade gifts in December.... Just in immediate family alone.
Am I complaining? No, indeed. I love it. As soon as these days get cooler and the leaves start changing, I start thinking, planning, and creating. In the evenings, you can find me at my sewing table, listening to a podcast on my iPad, surrounded in a sea of thread snips and felt pieces, happily cutting and sewing away.
Will everyone on my list get a homemade gift? No. But I like to see what I can do.
To take some of the pressure off of 19 *amazing* homemade gifts, I've decided to create some smaller gifts this year that can accompany other store-bought gifts. Here are two things I made this week.
I love homemade Christmas ornaments for the Christmas tree. Don't you? I can spend hours looking at my grandma's tree. She still knows the stories and memories behind most of her ornaments, even when some are 50 years old already. I sewed up a batch of matryoshka dolls out of simple crafting felt. I'm calling them "my ladies," but five of them will eventually find new homes and will make someone else's tree that much more cheerful. Attached to a loaf of homemade bread or on top of a book, this is the touch of homemade that I need to feel good about giving a Christmas gift. Don't they make you smile?
I also got a book from the library called "Creatissimo Macht Das Leben Bunter!" (It's in German.... I live in Germany....) and was disappointed by it. Fortunately, it was just a library book and I didn't buy it. Of the 70 ideas of colorful craft ideas, only one seemed to be creative and original. Maybe I spend too much time on Pinterest.... I'm becoming hard to impress. ;-) Anyway, using my leftover felt scraps from the doll ornaments, I made four felt piggy banks. Aren't they darling? These would be a great way to give a gift certificate, money towards a goal, or even just as they are. I'm thinking of making a batch of these for us at home to try to control the foreign change that we have floating around. We could have a pig for each country that my husband travels to for work....
There you have it: two simple homemade Christmas gifts. They're not my original ideas necessarily, but they sure are happy and fun. Plus, I got 11 homemade gifts out of one package of craft felt. Not bad, eh?
What about you? What have you made out of felt lately? I'd love to see it.