Monday, December 8, 2008

Conscious Consumption, Christmas edition #5 --Homemade Gifts

The main reason I decided to simplify my holidays years ago was that I wanted to enjoy them in real time, not just when the holiday photos came back. With two small kids and a full-time job, it was easy to get overwhelmed with events and obligations and end up missing the parts that meant the most to me. In no particular order, these were: music, making things and having chill time with friends and family. This is about #2: making things. I love making all kinds of things, all year around -- edibles, wearables, little origami things just to see if I can. Making stuff is way more fun to me than buying them.

Sarah Snow at TreeHugger has a very spiffy, link-filled article on going green with handmade gifts; so spiffy I won't even try to top it. (Love the gourd lamp!!) But I want to add a few personal examples of when this has worked for us.

  • a "memo board" of white cardboard covered in clear plastic (Con-tac) made for my mother by my daughter when she was about five. She wrote "Grandma's list" or something at the top and added some decorations before the plastic went on, and we tied a purchased wipe-off pen to it and added a magnet trip on the back. Instant refrigerator favorite.
  • mulling spices for cider or wine, made by both kids at various times.
  • a box of thrift-store finery from my daughter's godmother, who clearly knows about dress-up magic.
  • a family tradition: snickerdoodles from the recipe I learned in Bluebirds in 1955, enough for us, the cookie party at church and Santa.
  • origami picture frame ornaments, each with that year's school picture for each kid (I've also made a set of twelve for my brother from old family photos)

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