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hand made, home made Christmas

9 Sep 2010

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OK, it's coming up to Christmas  which means all kinds of things to all kinds of people but the universal amongst those who celebrate this festival for religious or cultural reasons is that we give gifts to our children and often all the other children in our circle of extended family and friends.



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It is lovely to be able to give a gift that is hand made, even homemade but you want to give something that will be appreciated, hopefully loved, something that will last or something that is deliberately ephemeral.



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Now I am a doll maker, I make dolls for adults and for children, so of course I think a doll or doll clothes is a great special present for a special child but I am also a mum and although my children are now 21,18 and 13 it is not so long ago that they were young and enjoyed toys for gifts ( well, they do still expect to get some kind of toy for Christmas.)



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I am going to try, with your help,  over the next few months to come up with a list of resources, a list of patterns, of makers, of collections that will help  us all to give  handmade homemade  gifts to the littlest members of our families,those 12 years and under,  the ones who are often the most likely to get the plastic consumer crap.
These will be good ideas for birthdays too won't they.



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I want too, to gather together the good things I have read over the years that support this ideal of  gift giving.

No one should feel they have to make all the gifts they give but
a sprinkling of homemade 
plus a generous serve of handmade especially locally hand made
plus a side serve of ethically produced or charity supporting bought gifts and second hand treasures as well as well chosen store bought items
might just make this Christmas a little more special.

My own children never received many toys or clothes through the year so Christmas and birthdays were always a selection of bought, hand made and homemade gifts and the bought things did tend to be big ticket items such as a new bike or some lego or special art supplies and of course books.
As the children got older too CDs and DVDs were on their wishlists as well as special clothes.



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I would love any suggestions that you may have, something you have made, or bought or thought about. 
It would be great to share our collective wisdom.
I know there are many of you out there with great ideas, years of experience and plenty to share.

You can comment or email me and we will share the best of what we have found in our own lives and communities and what we have found  in books and on the internet.
Please feel free to share with us the great ideas you have or special things you have made for Christmas.
You might like to do  blog post of your ideas.
I'd be happy to link to it and you can use the hand made home made Christmas button if you want to.
I will be posting on this subject each Thursday and I'll include any links then.



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And remember that not every gift a child receives has to be life changing or forever memorable, honestly apart from a gardening set that I received for Christmas when I was about 8 the main gifts I remember are the new shorts and t shirts sets the three of us were given every Christmas, not because they were my dream gift but because they were always given. 
I remember the feelings and smells of Christmas and the rituals of our Christmas so much more than any gift though I am sure part of that feeling is that I always felt loved and secure and certain that Christmas would be wonderful, and that there would  be presents!


And just to get things started here are a couple of links.
First to the Sew, Mama, Sew blog which for the past two years has hosted a Handmade Holidays festival with lots of great projects for all ages including children.

And secondly Wee Folk Art who have a huge list of lovely felt craft ideas

Enjoy!



15 Responses to “hand made, home made Christmas”

  1. Hooray for your well stated blog. Obviously, we are huge supports of handmade/homemade, and are so excited that we share our feelings with so many others. Also, we are totally honored to be included in your first submissions. We hope your readers can find some ideas to help inspire them this holiday season. Thanks!

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  2. Hi Jenny,

    What a wonderful list to compile! I love wood sailboats, homemade magnetic fishing sets with small poles and fish made from woolen felt, felt wands/crowns for dressing up. Can't wait to see the other ideas. Thank you!

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  3. Jenny,

    What a lovely idea! Christmas is one of my favourite seasons...Hope there are plenty of simple ideas, I am a bit challenged with a needle and thread.

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  4. Great idea Jenny! I'll link to this post at the forum and put on my own thinking cap.

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  5. Awesome idea Jenny, being only a beginner crafter I look forward to all the gems to be shared :o)

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  6. What a wonderful idea! I will definitely be following along. I don't have much experience in home made items and I don't have a sewing machine, but I am keen to learn some new skills :).

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  7. I agree that my biggest memories of my own childhood Christmases are the memories of the excitement of the day and not about the gifts I received. My son is a pretty good artist and in recent years he has been doing paintings to give on birthdays and Christmas. I am beginning to enjoy painting too and may do a few of my own this year. You can see some of his gifts here

    http://sunshinecottage.blogspot.com/search/label/Show%20and%20Tell

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  8. I love this idea as well as the knowing that resources and ideas will continue to flow. Thank you so much! I have nothing to share at this moment (last year I made homemade scarves out of flannel and velvet ric rac), but when I think of something clever or special, I'll pass it on.

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  9. What a super idea, I'm looking forward to some Christmas inspiration.
    I made a simple advent calander last year so celebrate the countdown to Christmas
    http://frenchknots.typepad.co.uk/french_knots/2009/12/simple-advent-calendar.html

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  10. Jenny, what a wonderful plan! I would love to contribute my little bit...there are many free crochet patterns for dolls and animals available on my blog (www.byhookbyhand.blogspot.com).

    Most of my Christmas list consists of handmade crochet items. Mostly toys and scarves, to bring a moment of joy and warmth on Christmas day :-)

    Beth

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  11. Hi Jenny. Well a really simple idea for children to make are Beeswax candles. My son made them for relatives and friends when he was 7 or so and believe it or not we still have some (he'll be 21 next month). He was so proud of his efforts that Xmas and my mother used hers at the Xmas dinner. They were wrapped in red tissue and tied with raffia. A special handmade gift. Jayne x

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  12. I love giving homemade gingerbread men - the single large ones - wrapped in clear celophane.

    One year I had two family households to visit, so took a basket filled with individually wrapped gingerbread men. You should've seen the kid's eyes pop out when I got the basket out.

    They even got to pick which gingerbread man they wanted.

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  13. I simply LOVE this idea ad will also pit my thinking cap on. My almost 10 year old daughter loves creating so will no doubt have some ideas of her own. I'll be back soon xox

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Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.