I love Autumn. Living in the Pennsylvania woods is always a blessing, but particularly so during the months of Fall. Vast expanses of colorful foliage evoke thoughts of favorite activities and aromas: campfires, hot cocoa, apple cider, pumpkins, hayrides, cinnamon sticks and crisp morning air where wispy puffs of breath become visible, like smoke.
For many, this beautiful season also begins an annual “craft extravaganza” all its own. Whether making decorations for Thanksgiving and Christmas, or homemade gifts for friends and family, it’s fun to think of the special times soon to come – and, also satisfying to prepare ahead of time, so that when the holidays roll around, there’s more time to enjoy family gatherings, and less time spent feeling busy and overwhelmed.
A few years ago, my son-in-law was laid off from his job, just before the Christmas season. My daughter, who is the queen of frugality, repurposing and creativity decided to have a “Homemade Christmas” by giving her daughters and others gifts that she herself had made. Turns out, she loved it so much (as did the recipients of her thoughtful gifts) that she has kept the tradition of making the gifts she gives to others at Christmastime.
I’m not a very creative person. My version of creativity is to Google, scour the images that come up and shout for joy when I see something I think I can re-create. Apparently, if my daughter’s creative genius was inherited in any way, it was not from me.
But – over the years, I have come across some lovely gift ideas that we have tweaked and adapted to our own liking. If you are looking for inexpensive, simple ways to let someone special know you were thinking about them this Christmas, some of the following ideas might be just right for you:
- Family Trees – Each person’s handprint forms the “branches” of a tree. Paint on trunks, leaves and any other items (birds, nests, apples, etc…) and add names of family members or a favorite verse. (My kids and I made a variant form of this gift with just the handprints, our names and notes to my husband, letting him know we appreciate his hard work.)
- 52 Reasons Why Jar – decorate a jar and fill with 52 strips of paper, telling your gift recipient things you love about him/her. Include instructions to open a note each week and he/she will have a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. (My daughter gave me this for my birthday and I treasure it.)
- Memory Box – fill a box with various trinkets, souvenirs, photos and notes that serve as reminders of experiences shared together in the past year.
If you start now, by the time the “season to jolly” arrives, you’ll have already stocked up on some wonderful gifts that let those you love know they are cherished. Besides, it’s never too soon to be jolly, right?
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.