Christmas Presents

I have spent most of the morning wrapping Christmas present and texting Elise (who was down the street before work) to pick up a few smaller items I had forgotten in the rush of the past few months. 

Nativity Ornament

Each year I bake ten Christmas cakes – mix of eight and six inch cakes for gifts – which are now wrapped and adorned with sparkly bows and ribbons just ready to be handed out.  The chutneys and pickles are just waiting for the fancy labels to arrive and they can be packaged up too.  All the other gifts are wrapped and under the tree with everyone having strict instructions not to touch or they will get nothing….vbg.  It feels good to have all that done especially with Christmas so close.

At last I think I’m organised. 

And then I started thinking………….. 

Dove of Peace

Thinking about how much money Christmas costs us. Not only in toys but food and little things.  Elise makes a pinata each year. While it isn’t filled with much the items she buys can cost $20 upwards and lets face it these days you don’t get much for $20. Food alone is an enormous expense and really do we need all those packets of biscuits and dip etc that I have been buying. I tend to justify it with “well at least we can live on what’s in the cupboard and I won’t have to shop over Christmas” but the reality is I still shop. I try to buy presents throughout the year taking advantage of sales etc but there is always that last minute “ohh he/she would love to have that.  I don’t have much for them I will just grab it”.  And once again the budget goes out the window. 

Now don’t get me wrong. We are not out there buying brand new computers and cars for our kids. Nor do we buy them lots of “gifts” through out the year. Each child in our household works and gets pocket money (or money from a job in Elise’s case) that they are free to spend on whatever they like.  The only rule there is that they must get birthday and christmas presents out of that money and they have to decide what they are getting and budget accordingly.  We have always encouraged the children to think about what another person wants and to try and choose an appropriate gift (that they can afford) right from when they were very young. Both Ashleyand I believe that it encourages the kids to think of others and their needs not just what they want.  It’s worked and each child goes to great lengths to find something that the recipent would like and that they would want to give.

So Ashley and I have made a decision.  A family decision.  The children were told about it today – with mixed reactions.

Next year for Christmas the goal is that we will only give hand-made presents


The presents don’t need to be huge and they certainly don’t need to be expensive but they must have a large component of being handmade in them.  Lets face it you do need to buy supplies at times and that is allowed but we are not allowed to just go down and buy a present just because you can’t think of anything or don’t want to participate. I have tried to explain the kids just how good it feels to make something with love and caring and with the recipient in mind.  To put a piece of themselves into the gift – not some anonymous worker in some factory who is paid peanuts for an item that then sells for an obsene amount of money. It goes without saying that of course anyone who needs help with a gift and it’s making with receive it. Ashley and I aren’t about to throw the kids, or for that matter either of us, into the deep end with no help if it’s required. There are skills that we all have mastered and those that we haven’t and I’m hoping that this will be a learning curve for all of us in that we will try new things in the process of making the perfect gift.

James started the ball rolling this year with his gifts for the girls. I won’t go into details in case they read my blog…lol…but with help from his Dad  he has come up with and made  personalised and innovate presents that I’m sure the girls will love.  James kept saying afterwards how good it felt to make and then wrap something that he had made!!!  Now isn’t that the whole idea??

Surprisingly enough Elise was the one, who after Ashley and I, embraced the idea the most.  She has already decided on her gift list (and she has only been home an hour from work) and worked out what she needs to get and is planning to make a good start on her gifts over these Christmas holidays.  With Year 12 looming she knows she won’t have much time thoughout the year so time is off the essence.  Add in the fact that she is giving up work to concentrate on her studies and money will be in short supply is an added incentive.

I have been cruising the web today and gathering ideas.  I’m still not sure what I’m going to make but I am looking forward to this challenge so much.

Would anyone else care to join us?


8 thoughts on “Christmas Presents

  1. I am sitting here with a bunch of $2 bright red towels and doing machine embroidery of Christmas motifs in white work on them (red work in white embroidery thread) which looks lovely but let anyone tell you machine embroidery is not work…and frustration has not done much of it..LOL. I have done 3 trial ones on a slightly lessor quality (same price) towels to give to a friend with animals. I was feeling despairing when I discovered my last years stock of goodies from Bevilles and other shops that had good post
    Christmas sales….so feel a bit better now. But you are right….it is not about money and getting everything. I like the charity eg: world vision etc where you can buy a goat or drinking water for someone. another friend takes her chn to Target and they get to buy a toy for someone their age to put under the
    Target tree and that is the only present they get from their Mother..she says they get enough from others. The CHRISTmas that we celebrate is a celebration of God’s infinite love and giving that was totally priceless. I think it has all got out of hand and kids toys to me seem totally obscene in value and waste.

  2. So who is looking pretty organised now!!!!!! I was thinking yesterday about the $ we spend and although I am pretty good at finding a bargain it does add up. With the kids I don’t mind so much as we don’t go overboard and we don’t buy a lot during the year so most of it is stuff they need….actually except for the ‘gellibaff’ – don’t think that fits into that catagory!!! I will watch with interes next year!!!

  3. Sounds good C… Like Elise I work in retail and of late there seems to be little joy in the whole Christmas experience… I work in a large retail complex and whilst I am no means religious I see less and less reference given to the meaning of Christmas… In fact the other day I suggested to a work mate that the complex should take away their token gestures of Christmas and just call it Merry Retail the Contant Sale…

    However in saying that I wish you and your the joyous best and safest Christmas and New Year…XXXX

  4. We’ve been doing it since before I was 10 actually. We had very little or no money to buy gifts most years. And… even when we did work for a few bucks…it always just seemed so much fun to make our gifts for each other … and save our few dollars to get our Mom something store bought.

    Check out my locket story on my blog sometime ..from last Christmas…

    Anyway… we had a bit of trouble trying to make our little things and keep them secret from each other because we lived in a tiny house and there were 4 of us kids. But…. luckily I had a bedroom of my own…and I made a sign for the door to warn them to keep out if I was busy painting little figurines …or gluing on beads etc.. and the other two girls used a corner of my room to work on each other’s gifts…and they worked together in their room on gifts for the rest of us.

    Only when we got jobs did we bother with store bought…and even then… sparingly. It was just too much to make things and wrap them…and be what I call “humbly proud” of our efforts. And, besides… like you say…it can add up in such a hurry and really…I would much rather save the dollars for something I need or want. Like…furnishing our first apartments when we left home.

    Now…I bake for gifts…and wrap them in fancy gift bags and sparkly ribbons… and each year I absolutely know how much folks appreciate that. They even ask if I’m making butter tarts again ..or remark about certain cookies they really loved… so I know what they want next year already.

    One year I decided not to bake because I thought oh, perhaps they’d rather have something else…. and there were sure a lot of disappointed faces …. hahahhah…. so I had to get back to it….

    Looking forward to everybody’s efforts…and if I can offer any tips to any of them…or a few ribbons or pieces of fabric or anything else I may have around…tell them to email me. Just don’t ask about sewing… because I don’t really sew. It is more like..turn the wheel a few times… turn the piece of fabric…turn the wheel etc… til I agonizingly get it done. I have a lot of patience with some things….

    yikes! this turned into a novel…sorry…. lol….

  5. Absolutely…not only are times tough and things getting more expensive(with less value to the way they they are made) but i think it is just wonderful to get back to some basics about the way we show our feelings…thanks for making this challenge. ktj(

  6. I do about half handmade and half store bought. My family and friends do appreciate hand made luckily. The kids gifts also include things they need like bike helmets and we don’t go over the top. Christmas is such a fun time for them though. I hope you all have a great day!

  7. Love the concept and I’m trying to get back to that idea. The older two are at the age where they don’t even want to exchange gifts anymore and the younger ones are getting there. Unfortunately none of them craft.

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