Christmas is a truly magical time of the year. I love it! The atmosphere, the decorations, quality family time and of course the presents! Who doesn’t like to receive gifts?! Not only do I love to get them, but I love giving presents too.
Let’s talk about the ways we can make Christmas presents really meaningful. Your friends and family deserve better than just something crappy you grabbed in a shopping mall one day before Christmas. So let’s talk about some of the ways we can make Christmas gifts just a little bit more special and meaningful.
This year we decided to make Christmas gifts ourselves (not only because we hate consumerism, but it also makes them more precious). I love Christmas, there is nothing wrong about it, but I can’t stand how people start running through the shopping malls searching for presents for everybody so desperately. So to begin with, truly decide who are your dearest friends (and family) and don’t burden yourself with people who aren’t that close to you, just because it’s Christmas and “you have to”.
True Friends Come First
I always make a list of people that I am going to make gifts for. It helps you to organize things a bit better and to get the number of gifs you need. My list was of 8 people this year. Yeah, and that includes my family too. Don’t be so surprised. I don’t feel that I have to give a gift to every work colleague or someone I used to be close with but I barely talk to now. And you don’t have to either! Don’t burden yourself and your wallet with presents for people you’re not close to. That’s not what Christmas is all about.
Make a rule. Write down the names of people you care so much about you think about them every day. Once a week, once a month. No one has to be on your list just because it’s nice or kind to give them presents, or because it’s expected of you… If you haven’t thought about that person during the past 3 months, why should you make a special effort during Christmas?
That doesn’t include charity of course. Even if you don’t think about their matter on you daily basis, but you do feel you share the same idea and you want to invest your time and money to help that organisation – Christmas is the perfect time to do so.
For example, our friends have a farm sanctuary that we donate to monthly. But before every Christmas, they make a list of things their animals need and people who can’t afford to send money every month, can contribute to them in this way.
Upcycled Wrapping Materials
Upcycled wrapping materials are good for the planet. Bla, bla…okay, but what if I don’t care about it? Well, it’s fun to get creative and use wrapping materials that are a bit different from what you see every day.
I had so much fun making my own wrapping paper. Crafting makes me feel like a small child again! And it’s good to feel as a kid, you know, to temporarily run away from your daily life that’s full of stress and responsibilities.
I made my wrapping paper from the plain brown paper we used to cover the floors while we painted our studio. I used it for two reasons: it’s made from recycled materials and I wouldn’t have to create more trash by buying new paper. Why buy something that you’re going to use one and it’s going to end up as pollution?
Happy planet = happy Eisvė.
To make it look more interesting, I used black ink and a potato (yes, simple potato) and made stamped wrapping paper. I could have used wood to make the stamp if I wanted to, but I found the potato was easier to carve in the shape I liked. And I remembered we used it in my primary school to make stamps too! What can be more nostalgic than that?
So, you have to slice your potato in half and carve your desired shape. It’s still hard and I can’t image myself dealing with wood or any harder material. I only managed to make a small Christmas tree, but I was super happy about it.
Then I covered it with ink and stamped, and stamped, and stamped…To make this beautifully looking paper ↓↓↓
To wrap our gifts (we made the same presents with Justinas it was a bit less fuss this way) we used a recycled paper string. Which looks gorgeous and simple!
I also made personal hand written tags for everyone. Again, my creative childhood stepped in. I used to draw these small animals when I was little every time I wrote a happy birthday wish or a letter. And I knew my family would like it.
Super Personal Christmas Gifts
Last, but the most important part. What to give as a gift? Well, you must know that person really well otherwise you wouldn’t be making him or her a gift, right? If not, go back and read the first part again. So just think about what the person really enjoys or maybe needs in their daily lives.
My family loves our homemade granola very much. We knew it would make them happy, because they don’t have time, nor energy to make it. You ease their lives and they get a healthy granola jar. They can eat nutritious, delicious food before they rush to work.
You see my point? You find a spot that is missing and fill it with what you have to offer. We also added homemade gingerbread cookies and peanut butter. Everyone loves that! We put it into small glass jars we had left over from a different project. We made the jars a bit more fancy with chalkboard paint. Not only we could write down what it is, but also a person who got the present could re-use it and write on what they need to.
I also decided to try something unusual and new, so made candied orange peels. I saw them on Pinterest and it looked gorgeous. It turned out pretty well. If you like to try it, you can find the recipe here.
We also made a gift that we are the most proud of. We had a garden at our friends piece of land last summer and we grew some veggies. So we dehydrated our own kale and made a smoothie powder out of it. We think it’s the best thing you can give – wellness and vitamins!