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. 😀