I have never been one to place great value on store-bought presents. I make gifts for family and friends. Hand-made cards and certificates offering a service are also great gifts. My son and I often exchange deeds rather than physical gifts - time doing things together, cooking, games, going for a walk, etc. It’s fun to be creative. I’d suggest the movie ‘Pay it Forward’ as inspiration - random acts of kindness. Great gifts don’t have to cost a penny. Look around and encourage your children to look around. Use things from nature, re-purpose household items that have outlived their intended use, ‘recycle’ pictures from approved magazines, junk mail, catalogues, containers, ribbon,string, yarn… The possibilities are endless! It’s good to encourage young minds to think outside the box - or the department store, as it were!! Offers to rake leaves, clean the garage, help a neighbor - or an unsuspecting relative, giving some service to the church - soup kitchen, gather food for food pantries, etc. are good for all involved.
Read Matthew 25: 35 - 46 with your children . This may help inspire them and keep the focus of the season on Jesus. Encourage them to use their God-given talents in creative, constructive ways. After all, the gift He gave us was not a monetary one. The greatest gifts we have to share don’t come with a dollar sign, either. It truly is the thought and the spirit in which a gift is given that matters most. Matthew 6: 1
May God richly bless you this coming Christmas season. It really is good to remember and teach our children that ‘Jesus is the reason for the season.’ Advent should be a time of joyful anticipation. Sounds like you are on the right track. I also don’t think it is an accident that Thanksgiving is just days before the beginning of Advent.
I will pray for your husband to find work, and for his perseverance. We live in an area that has been hard hit with closings and down-sizing of businesses.
For many years I baked “Christmas Bread”, or home-made jam as gifts.
My husband and I are going to make eachother a gift to exchange for Christmas this year.
We are artists in our free time, so perhaps a painting, or watercolor piece.
Looking forward to the midnite mass afterwards.
God bless your husband who is seeking permanent work.
WOW!! These ideas are fantastic & I used to make a lot of my Christmas gifts during the years I spent as a stay-at-home Mom. After I started my business, I went overboard for a few years & everything came from a store!! It was not half as much fun. This year, my first one as a retiree after 38 yrs., I’m going back to my homemade gifts. I’m determined to make one for each of my 8 grandchildren.
I have started sewing again after 30 years. I’m making 4 of my Granddaughters purses from fabric from their favorite colleges…Mizzou flannel for the 8 yr.old & 10 yr. old as they are both soccer players & love the University of Missouri’s girls soccer team. For the 13 yr. old, the purse will be made of fleece with a print of horses, since her horse, Gunsmoke, has been for years her favorite “person in the whole world”. The 16 yr. old will receive a purse with K-State logo material. I’ll fill each purse with small things, a pack of gum, a gas card with $10. on it for the 16 yr. old, a brand new pack of crayons for the 8 yr. old, little note pads, pencils etc., etc.
My two grandsons were going to get stadium blankets made with Mizzou fabric, but alas that proved to be too expensive to make, so I’m come up with Xmas stockings made with Missouri University fleece, with their names embroidered on them. Since they are both thirteen, I’ll fill their stockings with candy & about $5. worth of tokens to the nearest game arcade. They’re real gift will be the fact that we’ll take them to the arcade & spend TIME with them. I’m pretty sure that they’ll love these gifts **& I’m having a ball making them. **
I’ve come to the conclusion that all of these children that I so dearly love, while not from wealthy families, have what they need & a little bit extra. I don’t need to spend a whole lot of money on them. It’s my love that they want & need.
I received the GREATEST gift that any Grandma can get from my 13 yr. old grandson who has a birthday coming up & has asked to hold his party at our house. We have a 13 acre retreat which is our home. It has a small lake to fish in & enough ground to play a great game of baseball. In the evening, will build a bonfire & they’ll roast weiners & marshmallows.
There is much to the old saying that neccesity fosters creativity.
I would love to hear your ideas of what you are making. I have a 4 yr. old Granddaughter & a 6 yr. old. I’m thinking about bathrobes done in “Dora” material with their little goodies in the pockets of the robes, but I’m just not sure about this one. It seems a bit to practical, but they do like snuggly things??? I’m still thinking on this one.
As for my husband & I the only Christmas presents that we’ve given to each other during the 49 yrs. that we’ve been married is our love, a reading of the Nativity story from the book of Luke, a cold supper with a homemade meat & cheese tray (not much cleanup) & midnight Mass following that.
I have relatives who want for nothing!!! If they want something they go out and buy it.
I always make them something. Everyone gets a handmade tree ornament every year - crocheted, painted, crafted from nature, paper, etc. I paint milkweed pods, light bulbs, dried gourds. I’ve made wire and bead angels. I’m thinking of making birch bark ornaments this year. We are fortunate to have the bark in our woods free for the taking. You can make all sorts of things from pine cones and seed pods from various plants and trees, and nuts. But, every year it’s something different.
This year, I am crocheting slippers for my nieces. Inside, I will put a certificate. I went to the parish secretary and chose from a number of charities our church contributes to - local food pantries, soup kitchens, pregnancy centers, health ministries, etc. I made a donation to different ones in the names of my nieces, brothers and sisters-in-law. The secretary printed me a ‘certificate’ thanking them for the donation made in their name with a brief description of the organization receiving the gift. My Dad had been a dairy farmer, so I made a donation to Heifer International online and could print a certificate out for him. (Right now, they are doubling certain donations!) I see these as two gifts in one! They received mixed reviews last Christmas, but some of them thought it was a great idea. We’ll see what happens when I do it again this year!
Fleece projects are great!! No hemming!!! You can make stockings, scarves, pillows, blankets, shawls. Cut doubles of small shapes, stitch together with a little batting or cotton(from a cotton ball) and you can make cute ornaments. A simple blanket stitch is all you need. I’ve used printed fleece and twigs from the yard to make wall hangings! (My son likes wolves.) The possibilities are endless! You can crochet edgings into your blanket stitch using yarns that match the fleece. You are only limited by your imagination - a great thing to exercise - and imagination is FREE!!
I cut back on Christmas years ago, and couldn’t be happier about it. It was getting crazy and we were still paying off Chirstmas way into the new year. I found a homemade batch of goodies does the trick for “return” presents. Thank you Grama for your banana bread receipe!
The problem with homemade presents is that even if materials are cheap, time isn’t! I never have the time to make presents. I’m probably not going to give any presents at all except to my littles.
But, I hope to spend lots of time with Christ interceding for my family, time reading the Bible to my kids, going to different liturgies, on Advent devotions/penances. I do have a kit for making 100 rosaries. Maybe the kids and I will make rosaries every day of Advent, then pray them for our friends and relatives. Then, we could give the rosary with a note. Some of our Protestant and fallen away family might not understand though…something to think about.
I told my dh today that if his mom wants us to shop for the gift exchange (she supplies the money), he’ll have to do it.
Most Christmases are a time of worry, stress and frentic activity for me. This year I’m not doing it.
You know, this is how I feel, too. I really wish Christmas gift-giving would get toned down again.
This year we have no money, and I have no time. I work full-time, am pregnant with a baby due in January, am mother to two wonderful little girls already, and do a lot of the housework so my DH (a SAHD who can’t afford to stay home anymore) can look for work. I think everyone will understand why we aren’t even doing Christmas cards this year.
I am attempting to make a few cross-stich ornaments for people who got married whom we couldn’t give gifts to due to no money / time, and for new babies we couldn’t give shower gifts to, but only around everything else, and only when I can truly enjoy the act of crafting something for these wonderful people. Gift-giving should be fun, not work - and gifts should always be a surprise, never an expectation.
Yep! Who needs, or wishes to add more crazy stress, or frantic shopping trips prior to
Life is not meant to be filled with complicated schedules of “shop till you drop”
escapades, that many media sources try and program the masses to buy into.
Consumerism is ok in moderation, but the overly commercialized Christmas and
Easter season is quite extreme now.
New on these forums, and can someone let me know what DH is an abbreviation for?
When i was little we always got toys and selection boxes and we always goy roast turkey with all the trimming and non alcholic wine followed by triffle which mum would make. We wanted for nuthing my father worked without a days sick for 23 or so years. But he would tell us of the days where he would get an apple and an orange for christmas and they would have a big supper and just be together as a family. That is what xmas is about and celebrating christ. People have gone mad with material things over the years including myself as i have lots of new toys etc for my son for xmas but the only people smiling are the people in retail. Lets all remember what christmas is really about this year. A little baby boy was born under a star for us lets remember him this year. Our saviour Jesus Christ.
Just a couple of quick questions. Your ideas are so good that I’m thinking about doing some handmade ornaments. Are the painted light bulbs that you mention painted with snow men faces? If so, do you paint these freehand? I’ve seen some snowmen lightbulbs & they’re darling. However, I can’t draw a stick. So…do you know if one can use stencils/ rub-ons, etc. ?
You know, this is just where I was last year. Every year I start worrying about Christmas months ahead because we never have much money. So then hubby lost his job last year and it was just survival mode (still is this year unfortunately) but it really did take some pressure off in that regard in that we just didn’t have to worry about the presents. The focus really was on what the season was all about. My family even brought us all our food to prepare ourselves because we had no money for it. It was very touching. I say all of us who are in this boat just join together and focus on what is important. What an inspiring thread.
You can do snow man faces. They are easy! A couple ideas - these work on ‘tired’ glass ball ornaments, too. You see them all the time at yard sales and rummage sales - CHEAP!! - or maybe in your own attic.Using a sponge to pat on the paint is easy and is a neat effect. You can even use white acrylic house paint if you have some left over from a room painting project. Another thing that works is to use/recycle tissue paper that you may have gotten a gift wrapped in.Tear it in small pieces, and, using watered down school glue, decoupage it over the bulb. To paint an easy snowman face, got any black nail polish - Hallowe’en clearance? Or get a small 2-oz. bottle of black acrylic - metallic or gloss paint gives the shine of coal. Use a Q-tip to make irregular coal eyes, nose and mouth. I usually pencil small dots where I want the ‘coal’ to go before I paint. You could use orange for a ‘carrot’ nose, too. You can use fabric paint, too for a more 3-D look. Just lay it flat to paint and dry so it doesn’t run. An egg carton works well. I have crocheted hats for them, too.
Other ideas - use glitter glues and paints to put names or designs on the bulbs. Rub-ons should work. I have used them on painted milk cans already. Used colored or patterned tissue paper to decoupage on the light bulbs. You can do any images - limited only by your imagination. You can decoupage small Christmas images from store circulars, something on lightweight paper - paper holiday napkins, tablecloths, etc. You can paint simple snowflakes with a white or silver glitter paint or glue and glitter.
Most important - just have fun doing it!! Perfection is over-rated!!!
Got hemlock trees? You can do all sorts of things with their tiny pine cones. Arrange them in circles and glue to make tiny wreaths. Just add a little bow made from scrap ribbon or yarn.
I have fun just coming up with new ideas. Look around and you’ll be amazed what you see. Decorate empty soup cans with yarn, tissue paper, pine cones to hold pencils, crayons, scissors, Christmas cookies or candy, etc. Make a cheap pillar candle into something special with paint, glitter, pressed flowers and leaves…Take lids from cans, trim the edges with ric-rac, twine, etc. and put a photo or paint a snowman.
Wrapping suggestion - pick up interesting pillowcases at rummage sales, yard sales, thrift stores, or check out your closet! Put your gift inside t, tie it up with a homemade tag and you have a Christmas bag that is also a gift. I use tablecloths that I find at Dollar Stores. The wrapping is part of the gift.
Guess I’ve gone on long enough! Again - HAVE FUN!! Giving should be from the heart. God must have a BIG heart. Look what he gave us! I believe He was smiling at the birth of His son.
Sounds like you are going to have a wonderful Christmas! I am trying to turn things around here too. It’s sooooo easy to get sucked in to the material side of Christmas - nothing like a low budget to put an end to that! I sometimes find myself being very thankful for pay cuts and the like… isn’t that wierd?
I lost my job a year and a half ago, I have 2 part time jobs, DH has one and picks up some odd job work (send up a prayer if you would, his part time job is in jeopardy as we cannot afford a phone or inet access at home anymore).
It is not the gifts or shopping that I am mourning, it is that we will not be able to visit our family. They are 250 miles away. My BIL is just back from Iraq and he and my baby sis will even be there for the holidays. I want to hug them so bad, and we will not be able to. DH’s PT job is retail, and there will be no way he can travel even IF we found the gas money.
You must be the crafting QUEEN of Caf. I’ve printed out this post, but stick around in case I need advice. I’m having my only granddaughter that lives in my city over & we’re going to work on these gifts & decorations all through the month of Nov. She has been saving pennies & nickels to get money for her parent’s & brother’s Xmas gifts. This way we can have valuable times together (& wonderful memories) & she won’t have to break open her piggy bank. I think we’ll start with the tin can pencil holders & go from there.