I've always loved giving handmade gifts. Hah (big surprise, right?!) I 100% encourage you all to give a little handmade gift from the heart whenever possible. Even though I am in the business of selling things, I believe that for far too long, as a society, in general, we have put too much value on things and "stuff" that in my mind, don't really matter that much when it all boils down to it.
Over the years, in my experience, Christmas has turned into a whole new beast. It doesn't feel the same as I remember it feeling when I was growing up. To me, Christmas felt like fresh baked cookies, decorating Ginger Bread Houses (and we baked them from scratch ourselves, or make a Rice Krispy version thank-you-very-much), and making ornaments for our first ever tree. (My Dad's side of the family didn't celebrate Christmas, so I didn't have my first Holiday experience until after my parents split up and my Mom carted my little sister and me across Canada from Alberta back home to Ontario. I was whatever age you are in Kindergarten, maybe 5?)
Anyways, we were just so dang excited to decorate this sad little cheap ass tree! I think my Mom got it second hand, or it was gifted to us. It was old. It had a wooden centre with drilled holes and you just jammed the little branch pieces into each hole. My grandparents had given us one of their old sets of tree lights for the said tree. We painted S-shaped packing peanuts white and red and then popped a whole bunch of popcorn to string them all together for a garland. My Mom is a seamstress, and she sewed a whole bunch of cute little stuffed stars and hearts ornaments for us to hang from the tree. It was kind of a sad looking tree that first Christmas, but that didn't matter to us! We made it amazing in our own way and we created this wonderful first Christmas experience together. Looking back on it now,
I love that we pretty much DIY'd nearly our entire first tree!
(This photo is not that first tree, it's several years later but you can see we still have that homemade garland and the homemade ornaments along with some others that we had collected since that very first Christmas. As you can see, I'm a founding member of the No Pants Club. )
Then there was the big family Christmas gathering. My Mom had to give us 'The Santa Talk' so we wouldn't spoil Christmas for all our cousins. I don't think we completely grasped the concept until we saw our cousins reactions to their gifts from Santa. My Grandparents lived on a little farm just outside of Milverton, Ontario. There was this big hill (not so big now, but it seemed huge at the time) that we would all toboggan down. I don't remember if we played outside before, or after our Christmas dinner and gift exchange, probably both. My family has our dinner at lunch. Christmas was a whole day affair. We'd eat, play outside, play games, watch movies, and just enjoy each others company. And then when we got hungry again, we'd pull out the leftovers and do it all again!
Many of my most cherished Holiday memories are simply spending time with my family. I don't really remember the gifts so much, and why would I. It's our experiences that truly matter. It feels heavy on my heart that Christmas has changed and evolved into such a money grab over the years.
But Christmas doesn't have to be so over-commercialized, and it starts in each and every one of our homes! Bake a big batch of cookies and decorate them while you watch your favourite Holiday Flicks. (Want to know what makes an awesome homemade holiday gift? Food! Who doesn't love food?! And we all have to eat, right?! ) Or you can take it back a notch and make it even simpler by layering the dry ingredients in a jar, print off the directions, toss a bow on it and BAM. Almost as easy as eating a cookie! I'm just going to go ahead and stop myself here because I could go on for days and nobody wants that. I ramble enough as it is thank-you-very-much.
Anyways, to me, the holidays have always been about spending time with those who are nearest and dearest to my heart. Of course, I want to give my favourite people an awesome gift! But I'm more excited about the opportunity to spend some quality time with those people. We are all far too busy. I get it. Who has time to throw together handmade gifts for all the people on your list! (Well, you can and it's not even that time consuming if you get a little creative, but that's a post for another day) If you can't do a homemade gift yourself, buying handmade is another great option! I don't want to sell myself too much here, but hey, I do happen to be one of those people who happen to make a living peddling their handmade goods.
I've added a whole new collection of items $50 and under to make it easier for ya'll to shop handmade on a budget. You can find them right here! I'm a one-woman show and make every piece myself in my home studio right here in Stratford, Ontario. I love working with gemstones and other natural materials, you won't find any glass or plastic here! Each piece is kind of like a gift from mother nature herself. I also cleanse each of my jewels before they go out and charge them up with some loving Reiki vibes!
For you local folks I offer free delivery, and for those of you that aren't so local, I'm offering flat rate shipping of $7.00 in Canada, and Free Shipping in Canada for orders $50 and up. Everything is going out with CanPar so your items will arrive within a few days if you're in Ontario, and about a week if you're outside Ontario. No worries about slow mail due to the Canada Post strike here, I want you guys to get your goodies in plenty of time before Christmas!
Thanks for sticking around this far, this turned into a much longer post than expected, but hey, as I said, I'm a bit of a rambler.
And if anyone needs any ideas on making gifts, I welcome you to shoot me an email, I'm a bit of a DIY Queen and I love to get crafty! I'd also love to hear about your holiday traditions and your handmade gifts.
Thanks for reading!