The best Christmas memories are made by hand.
And if that is true, then perhaps the worst Christmas memories are those made when we spend the majority of the holiday season in department stores without our children, trying to purchase toys that will be played with for a few days and then forgotten.
I love gifts, and giving them is important to me, but often the gift that our children most long for is the gift of our undistracted time.
On the other hand, many of us envision making things by hand as just another distraction from our children. When these gifts are difficult projects that must be done solo, we are again forced to choose between time with our children, or time doing something for them, but not with them.
A few Christmases ago, we made some changes that have set a precedent for more family time at Christmas. We had a theme of "used or homemade" for Christmas gifts which meant that I would take a few children at a time to hit up thrift stores, or that I was sewing simple gifts for them such as capes and doll blankets, while they worked on their own homemade gifts.
By choosing alternative ways to celebrate, including forgoing gifts in exchange for a Christmas vacation, we have been able to lower expectations and focus on family time. However, we still want to have a few gifts on hand for grandparents and friends, and we have chosen to have at least a few of those be handmade.
These are a few of the simple gifts that we have made;
Rolled Beeswax Candles
Carefully cut your beeswax sheets in half lengthwise.
Cut your candle wick to fit.
Place wick at the edge of the beeswax and carefully fold over the first roll.
Finish rolling tightly.
Our two sheets of beeswax made 4 thick candles. You could also cut the beeswax in thirds for thinner candles or cut in quarters for short candles.
Essential Oil Bath Salts
Soaking in bath salts is a great way to supplement your body with magnesium and get better sleep.
Christmas fabric and ribbon
Pour your epsom salt into a large bowl. You could also add himalayan pink salt, dead sea salt, or other mineral rich salts.
Add about 15 drops lavender essential oil.
Stir well to combine.
Use a scoop to pour bath salts into jars.
Cut circles from your holiday fabric that are slightly larger than your jar lid. We used a gallon size jar lid as a template.
Place fabric over lid and then screw on jar ring.
Tie ribbon around jar ring and add a gift tag if desired.
There are loads of other possibilities for homemade gifts, bean soup in a jar, cloth doll, a simple cape, or even potted plants such as geraniums that you start from a cutting. Our new Christmas Guide includes tutorials for several of these activities, along with stories, games, and early learning activities to bring more joy to this holiday season.
We can turn the tide on Christmas expectations, and create a holiday celebration that is defined by precious moments spent with our loved ones.
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