We’ve done this for several years and I have to say that while it’s a lot of work, it’s something I love. In part because it doesn’t bankrupt us—I’ve never been a fan of spending loads of money for one holiday/birthday/event. I’ve always wanted to keep it small. And with kids around now, it feels even more important to keep it meaningful and manageable. Not buying something so there are a specific number of gifts under the tree for each child, but buying something they will find value in and enjoy in the long term.
And if those gifts can be handmade, at least part of the time, all the better. Last year, the kids all helped make each other a lap quilt. (Can I tell you how much my kids LOVE using the sewing machine? My boys floor it like it’s a sports car.) Each child knew they were getting a quilt as a collective gift from their siblings, but they didn’t know what theirs would look like. (It was a surprisingly well-guarded secret.) And do you know what? That was the first gift that each child wanted to open on Christmas morning.
We also like to make gifts for the kids’ cousins. And while I’m sure they’re not as instantly exciting as the latest, greatest toy, I do hope they are loved/enjoyed/used for years to come. (Last year the little cousins got superhero capes, an idea I stole from my sister-in-law who made them for my kids several years ago.) I’ve found that with my kids, the simplest toys get the most use. (Years ago I bought a set of colorful silk scarves and as soon as they were opened, all three boys decked themselves out in scarves. Five years later those scarves are still used on a weekly basis.)
So my plans for this year? I’m not sure. I’ve been mulling it over (and I really must decide soon!). I might try making lip balm this year—I think the kids would be really into that. I’ll be making toffee as I do every year. That’s become tradition for us. I have flannel to make warm rag quilts for the kids, but I’m not sure there’s enough time to get them all done. I’m feeling very inclined to make these monogrammed mugs stuffed with a bag of homemade hot chocolate mix for the nephews and niece—something my kids can be a part of making for their cousins, which makes those gifts extra sweet, in my mind. (And that I think my kids would LOVE to make for each other as well.)
There is nothing quite like the excitement that comes with making something for someone you love. You know?
Do you do this? Do you make gifts for the big holidays and/or birthdays? What will you be making this year?