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I'm Dreaming of a Handmade Christmas

I love Christmas! Ever since I was little, I’ve sung Christmas carols with gusto, wrapped presents with glee, and counted down the days until Christmas Eve.

When my husband and I got married, he was kind of a giant Scrooge. Our first Christmas together was, well, awkward, in our semi-newlywed haze. We had a furniture-less living room because our lease was up in two months and why would we tote couches up to our third floor apartment?

So we intentionally purchased a Charlie Brown Christmas tree to suit our accommodations and we patched together a small - mostly handmade - collection of special “stocking stuffer”-type presents because we had conveniently forgotten to budget for holidays. And also we didn’t have a place to hang stockings. Oops!

In hindsight, it was actually a fun Christmas in it’s own quirky way. Now we’re getting ready to celebrate our fourth Christmas as a married couple and this is the second year in a row that we are celebrating one of our precious baby’s first Christmas.

The fun thing about starting a new relationship or a new family is the new traditions that you dream up - or fall into - together. This year, our oldest child is almost two years old and has some concept of the merriment around her, which adds another layer of pure joy to our celebration of the Christmas season. We can bring her to events and watch her get excited, her eyes glowing in the dazzling lights around her and hands clapping to the beat of familiar holiday tunes.

One of my favorite new traditions with my family is dreaming up handmade treasures to share with our friends and loved ones.

I’ve always been a huge fan of gift giving, but it can be a bit hard on the wallet to purchase everything new from stores. Plus I always find a certain level of disappointment in fighting usually grouchy crowds through the mall to find items that *almost* perfect, but lack the panache I’d imagined when thinking of my beloved recipients.

Then, of course, there’s Etsy, where you can find all of the perfect customized gifts you never even knew your friends and family members needed. But again with the hard on the wallet thing.

Thankfully, Pinterest, sleep deprivation, and a steady stream of coffee have empowered me to believe that I can handcraft my way through the holiday season. From presents to home decor and the perfect holiday feast, I can indeed have - and do - it all! (Spoiler: I cannot. Like, not even close.)

There are however, a lot of simple ways to incorporate hand crafted treasures into your gift giving repertoire, even if you’re short on time or don’t consider yourself particularly crafty. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Poured candles - this is as simple as setting a wick in a mason jar, melting down some beeswax with a few drops of your favorite essential oil, and pouring. Do these by the dozen, and you’ve got gifts for almost everyone on your list!

Baked goods - whether you spend hours on end dreaming up gourmet goodies or have a few dynamite family recipes you only pull out for special occasions, I’m willing to bet you’ve got something your friends and family will love. Bake up a few batches, package in parchment paper or a gift box, finish with ribbon, and give them away!

Body products - making your own body products is way simpler than you might think. Helpful blog posts and tutorials can give you clear directions on ingredients and ratios to set the perfect body butter or pour a lovely lip balm. Make cute labels to accent your gifting jars and tubes, and you can add these to a beautiful “spa in a basket” set with some pretty washcloths and luxe bubble bath for your bestie.

Gourmet hot chocolate - simply layer hot cocoa mix, some peppermint hard candies, and marshmallows in a mason jar and pair it with a matching set of coffee mugs for a quick “cocoa to go” gift set that’s great for couples or to share with a friend.

Crank up the Christmas tunes and take an afternoon to get creative. You may surprise yourself with how easy it is to churn out a whole batch of Christmas presents with a lovely hand-made touch.

Feel free to share your favorite DIY-Christmas gift ideas and your plans for spreading the handmade love this holiday season!

Until Christmas,

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