Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Handmade Christmas

A Christmas Fairy inspired by my friend Chelsea and Wee Felt Folk.
(This makes me excited to unpack the one Chelsea made me and hang her on my tree!)

    As we've moved slowly toward a simpler lifestyle, I've been thinking about what to give for Christmas this year. I've always enjoyed being creative and making things, and although I seem to have less time than ever to do so, am not going to let that stop me! I will still order a few gifts online and shop at our local handmade Holiday Market, but I'm trying not to buy many commercially produced goods. Much of our "school" this coming month will consist of making gifts and getting ready for Christmas. I sat down earlier and wrote out a little list of things we've given in the past or are planning to make this year. Most of these are fairly simple and all can be made for less than you'd buy them. They have the bonus of being handmade with love, and though they may be small are always appreciated. The kids can also help with many of them, and to me, this is so much more rewarding and fun than taking them to the store to shop. Last year Peregrine spent weeks crafting presents for people, and I have no doubt this year will be the same. Several of these are items that friends or family members have made for us one year and I've turned around and made the next year. (You can't underestimate the gift of inspiration either!)

  • Spiced Nuts A nice alternative to all the sweets at this time of year. 
  • Granola  This is is a great recipe. I like to use dried cranberries instead of raisins. 
  • Coffee Liqueur Similar to Kahlua. Using decent quality vodka and coffee makes a nicer finished product. 
  • Limoncello When we visited Italy years ago a friend pulled a bottle of this out of the freezer after dinner. I made a batch last year. It's a bit labor intensive but great for lemon lovers.
  • Vanilla Extract  This is super easy, just soak vanilla beans in vodka or rum. I've ordered vanilla beans from Arizona Vanilla Company. I keep a half gallon jar of vanilla brewing all the time. As I pour it out I just throw in some more beans and top it up. It's so yummy! 
  • Rolled Beeswax Candles These are a fun, simple project that the kids can help with or do themselves. I buy beeswax sheets and wicking from GloryBee. You can make them very simple or decorate them a little. Who doesn't love candles? 
  • Christmas Ornaments Endless options here, from simple ones the kids can make themselves to more detailed ones. I've enjoyed making some felt ornaments for the kids' stockings. A google search will turn up a wealth of ideas and tutorials for them. 
  • Lotion Bars The woman who makes and sells Made On Hard Lotion is kind enough to share recipes and tips for making your own lotion bars. I love this stuff. She also sells a DIY kit that's a good deal. I've bought ingredients for making hard lotion from Mountain Rose Herbs
  • Lip Balm So simple and inexpensive to make. Several good recipes here, as well as ingredients, lip balm tubes and containers.
  • Candle Lanterns My sister did these with the kids one year and they're so pretty. We made them with leaves for fall, and I think we'll do some more with snowflakes to brighten the dark days of winter. 
  • Photo Gifts Framed pictures, photo calendars, and greeting cards made with pictures from our travels are all gifts we've enjoyed giving. Sites like Shutterfly and Mixbook offer great deals at this time of year. You could also get the kids' art printed on a shirt, tote bag, mug, etc. 


  1. Anonymous3:52 PM

    thanks for sharing some great inspirational ideas!
    Might just try a few out this year.
    Love, Shannon M.

  2. Breads!
    And another one I think we've both done is bulbs like paperwhite or amaryllis.
    I am very excited about a few secret handmade gifts I'm working on this year!

  3. Thank you so much for this wonderful list, it's so inspiring! I'm going to do a blog post soon about some Ginger Walnuts that I like to make at the holidays and I will post a link to your list.

  4. So glad you came over and mentioned you had put up an Xmas post; I am going to link to it!!! I love photobooks now. CHeck out Pinhole Press and Blurb as well.


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