A Homemade Christmas is not a new concept. People have been making presents for others since the beginning of time and cultivating the landscape to bring a little of the outside world indoors. A homemade Christmas is routed in tradition and overall just feels warm, celebrated, and nostalgic.
The older I become, the more I try to grasp hold of this antiquated way. Like Linus in A Charlie Brown’s Christmas, I am upset by consumerism, especially when it comes to Christmas. There’s just too much stuff and they put it all out starting September (which makes me unnecessarily angry). I vowed that whenever I had kids, there would not be presents stacked to the ceiling (unless we wrapped small things in huge boxes for fun).
I’m a less is more kind of person. My husband and I have since kept that promise with our daughter with a 5 gift maximum. We know we are the odd parents with our friends and family, but Christmas feels more special when it’s humble and small.
What has further pushed this newfound belief, is our celebrated Christmas last year. The amount of money we didn’t waste on unnecessary gifts, we put towards a Christmas getaway in an old 1800s school house (found on AirBnB) in Vermont. It was a magical and unforgettable experience. Our homemade Christmas, in a place that wasn’t our home, was made complete by chopping down a tiny tree, and decorating with lights, popcorn, cranberries (that we fed to woodland creatures like a real life Disney princess), and ribbon.
We roasted lamb, cuddled next to the fireplace, and stared at the surrounding snowy, mountainous landscape. We visited iconic and picturesque villages with wooden covered bridges, did shots of maple syrup, and tasted a variety of cheeses. It’s a memory I will never, ever forget. I want to continue the tradition and expand it a little further. This year I want to include an exchanged handmade item.
Pushing the Modern Day Homesteading agenda, there is always, always something you can make for a loved one. From lip balm (specifically for cold sores and chapped face), to hand salve, to shave cream, and even natural cologne. I have a million ideas for my husband that isn’t a crotched scarf (my patience and talents aren’t of this variety). And there are a million handmade ideas he can also make for me in his “woodshop” (a picture frame, a wooden terrarium, or fake skis to hang above the fireplace).
One year, I made a body warmer out of fabric, rice, dried lavender from the garden, and some essential oil. It was a great homemade gift, in my opinion, as it was thoughtful and useful for a Floridian relative that is always cold and complains about muscle aches. We’re talking about actual thoughtfulness here. Not slapping two things together and calling it an ornament (though, I understand that is as far as one’s creativity may stretch). Some people are not as crafty and that’s ok, too. You can always support a small business or a friend who is!
Here’s an easy to remember list/poem if you also want to simplify your Christmas routine/list:
- Something you want
- Something you need
- Something homemade
- Something to read
- Something extra or special
May you find serenity in this increasingly less than tranquil time of year. And know that all can be truly “calm and bright.”
This year, although not venturing to Vermont, we will still keep the simplicity of the season. We’ve decorated a few things, made a few things, and are planning on getting our tree this weekend. 😀
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Enjoyed your post. I love the idea of keeping the simplicity of the season. This is an idea I am trying to spread this holiday season https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hidlnk1NC10 If you like it, please share it. Thanks Rita
Thank you! I enjoy your concept! 😉
I am glad you like it! Can you imagine what could happen if this really caught on?!? 🙂
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I spent several hours slapping two things together into ornaments to give away to 20+ people this year. You should know that lots of people love small gifts like that, especially ones that can be customized to their personality. My nieces did rolled cinnamon ornaments for me one year and I adore pulling them out of the ornaments box each year and smelling them, even though they’re just cinnamon and glue with some glitter on them. Plus they had a great time making them with their mother, some rare quality family time for some older kids.
Another friend made me and my partner ornaments out of our favorite board game pieces, because we are huge board game nerds. She made them for most of her friends that year. It makes me happy every time I put them up that my friends took the time to think of us and make them out of our favorite ones. Last year I hand painted a set of glass ball ornaments for my partner with his favorite video game characters and he absolutely beamed when they got pulled out this year.
Sometimes gifts like that can be extremely thoughtful and marveled at for years to come. 😉
Of course… I’m talking actual thoughtfulness here, not just dropping some utility item that anyone and their grandma could use under their tree. I know it might be beyond how far your imagination can stretch… But slapping a couple things into an ornament can be surprisingly thoughtful. 😀
I’d love one of the ornaments you wrote about! And you’re absolutely right, handmade ornaments can be surprisingly thoughtful. My sister is surprisingly crafty in this department, but one year I felt slightly cheated by her ability to craft, as I received literally two lids/caps glued together. Haha. It was also nearly 10 lbs. That was the last year we exchanged handmade items. I think she lost her creative steam… in her defense, it was a rough year. 😉 However, I’ll never forget the memory. My most coveted ornament is one made of salt dough of my daughter’s hand from her first Christmas.
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Ah, I guess I was just feeling a little salty and sensitive. 😛 That does sound pretty unimpressive, to be fair. My apologies for being harsh!
Also, how does two lids put together get to be 10 lbs!?
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Haha. No worries. Lots of epoxy? Not quite sure, but it is plausible. 😊