Author Topic: Homemade Christmas 2016  (Read 33662 times)

HappierAtHome

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Homemade Christmas 2016
« on: July 24, 2016, 06:56:21 PM »
Note: I couldn't find a 2016 thread for this, though I know we've had threads for previous years, so if I've just missed it please let me know and I'll ask mods to merge them.

Challenge: make some or all the Christmas gifts for your loved ones.

Deliberately worded so that we're not aiming for perfection - I for one will still be buying some of my gifts (especially the ones for nieces and nephews, who will want books and science kits and art supplies).

Homemade presents I'm thinking of making:
Onion jam.
Eggplant pickle.
Vanilla extract.
Pecan chocolate toffee.
Spiced almonds.
Praline pecans.
Soap.

I've never made cold-process soap before, though I've used melt and pour mixes. So that will be an adventure!

MrsDinero

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2016, 07:18:30 PM »
Those are great ideas! We usually make something but haven't decided what we will be doing yet.

Cressida

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2016, 07:44:58 PM »
following! I was thinking of soap too - DH likes fancy Dr. Bronner's tea tree bar soap in the shower, and it's pricey. Making soap seems like a pretty fussy process, but who knows, maybe it will be fun.

swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2016, 07:51:48 PM »
NOOOOOO!!! It's too early!!! Edit: Apparently it isn't I started 2015's thread on Dec 30, 2014. I have been slacking :)

I don't think a thread has been started, Happier, you beat me to it this year:)

I've dug up previous years, in case anyone wants a bunch of ideas:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/homemade-christmas-2013/

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/homemade-christmas-2014-edition!!/

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/homemade-christmas-2015-edition!!/

As usual, I'm in! I haven't really thought about it too much yet. We have a new dehydrator so definitely going to make some jerky, and there are lots of neat ideas as far as flavoring powders and spice blends. Need to start looking into it.

I also have to make my FIL some more record bowls. The one I made last year was a hit, in fact, they have it out all the time and use it as a snack bowl.  Given he is by far the hardest to do something for, I feel like I already have a head start :)

Hubby has been having fun making custom dice towers, so I imagine he'll make a couple for Christmas presents.

Soap is a lot of fun! By far the best website I have come across for homemade bath and Beauty stuff is Humblebee & Me: http://www.humblebeeandme.com/

I have also made soap in my crockpot, it turned out really good, I'll have to go through my links and see if I can find it, it was pretty easy to do. You do want to start making the soap early so it has time to cure.

« Last Edit: July 24, 2016, 07:55:07 PM by swick »

Anatidae V

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2016, 10:29:05 PM »
I'm in. I will be finishing a few crafts for our home from last year (Advent calendar!), Xmas cards (maybe old family photos?) And a mix of homemade snacks for each family group.

Miss Piggy

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2016, 07:03:34 AM »
Look around Etsy for a while. You'll get TONS of ideas for good (and easy) handmade gifts.

Anatidae V

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2016, 07:30:04 AM »
I just made strawberry sauce. First go, and it was amazing. Yup, now I know what everyone's getting this year!

swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2016, 10:34:38 AM »
I just made strawberry sauce. First go, and it was amazing. Yup, now I know what everyone's getting this year!

Awesome Sauce! (North American Slang from the 90's but I thought appropriate!)





meerkat

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2016, 12:08:26 PM »
I've dug up previous years, in case anyone wants a bunch of ideas:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/homemade-christmas-2013/

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/homemade-christmas-2014-edition!!/

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/homemade-christmas-2015-edition!!/

Thanks!

I've already got kiddo's gift in mind (modifying our existing coffee table into a toddler play table). Last year I gave my parents and IL's all the same thing - digital frames preloaded with a ton of pictures of our son. I've already updated each frame at least once with more recent pictures since there's still a ton of room in the USB storage widget. The frames themselves were somewhat spendy since we bought three of them (one set of grandparents is divorced) but they absolutely loved the pictures. Since most of the pictures are the same for the different sets of grandparents it felt like I was only doing 1/3 of the work. I have no idea what to do for this year, though.

Edit: Oh, I remembered one more idea that someone can steal! Years ago I made super hero capes for my niece and nephew. I got one yard of fabric for each cape - bright pink for her and bright blue for him - and I think a half yard of yellow. I cut one corner into a U shape (so the overall square now looked like something took a bite out of that corner) for the neck area, and at the tips of the U I rounded it off and hemmed the whole thing and attached little velcro strips. The velcro is so the cape would stay on if they were running around but if, say, a sibling were to grab the other one's cape the grabee wouldn't get choked. Then I carefully traced out their first initials on the yellow fabric and cut it out. I can't remember if I sewed it on or attached it some other way, but I finished it off with black puff fabric paint to outline the letter (and hide the raw edges of the yellow fabric). Minimal cost, not that much time, but they loved the custom capes.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2016, 01:30:55 PM by meerkat »

Choices

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2016, 10:00:58 PM »
Following. Love this idea.

startswithhome

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2016, 11:24:57 AM »
I think I will try this as well. I may set a rule that the kiddos (6 and 3) can pick one store bought item each.

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2016, 04:20:54 PM »
Following in the vain hope this will be the year MiL agrees to a small, thoughtful Christmas rather than just throwing money at it.

swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2016, 05:04:40 PM »
Following in the vain hope this will be the year MiL agrees to a small, thoughtful Christmas rather than just throwing money at it.

I distinctly remember a fair amount of frustration last year wishing I could just throw money at it :) ...and I probably would have if I hadn't of made a very public statement of this is what we are doing.  I think all you can do is tell people (with enough warning) that this is what you are doing, so this is what they should expect and invite them to join you if they wish!

Most of our friends and family jumped on board, easier than I expected, but we don't have little ones in the family yet.

1967mama

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2016, 05:22:06 PM »
Many years ago, I made fleece blankets for my children. They still have them! It was so easy and I'm going to gift my niece and nephew with one this Christmas, I think.  At the fabric store, choose a bolt of fleece that seems to suit the recipient's personality (ie: horses, flowers, woodsey plaid, etc) and have it cut to the size you'd like (bigger is usually better).

At home, even up the edges and cut in a fringe on 2 sides, tying a knot on each piece of the fringe.

The blankets are really lovely and have held up for over 18 years now:-) Sale days are the best day to buy your fleece, of course! haha

Tamster

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2016, 05:33:37 PM »
I'm in! This is a great way to use up some of my craft supplies. I've cross stitched a couple of easy ornaments for my sister and a friend, and cross stitched a bookmark for oldest son. Working on the bookmark for youngest son now. Knitting has been ongoing, every time I finish a scarf I put it in the gift basket.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2016, 05:50:52 PM »
Has anyone made vanilla essence using something other than vodka? Do you think gin would work, or does it have too much flavour?

swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2016, 05:54:23 PM »
Has anyone made vanilla essence using something other than vodka? Do you think gin would work, or does it have too much flavour?

I don't tink Gin would work since it is more herbaceous flavored, where vanilla is a warming spice. I have used black strap molasses rum which was awesome! Any rum would work.

BookWorm22

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2016, 06:31:42 PM »
Great suggestions so far. 

A few years ago I made card boxes for the mothers and grandmothers on both sides of the family.  They were filled with handmade cards.  Now every year I give them a refill assortment of cards (birthday, thank you, blank, etc.)  It allows me to distress with a favorite hobby plus use up my paper crafting stash.  They love it because I guess the cost of cards has gotten ridiculous, but I wouldn't know since I make all my cards.  I have also knit scarves, crocheted blankets, and stitched ornaments in the past as gifts.  As far as food related gifts I always make caramel corn, toffee, and fudge. 

HappierAtHome

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2016, 06:34:42 PM »
Has anyone made vanilla essence using something other than vodka? Do you think gin would work, or does it have too much flavour?

I don't tink Gin would work since it is more herbaceous flavored, where vanilla is a warming spice. I have used black strap molasses rum which was awesome! Any rum would work.

Bummer. All I have is gin. I think I'll buy some vodka and start some jars this weekend. Just add a vanilla bean to a jar of liquor and leave in a dark cupboard, right?

swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2016, 09:19:22 PM »
Generally, you have to add more than one bean.  I never measure so googling a recipe is probably a good plan!

Simpli-Fi

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2016, 12:30:23 AM »
my wife came up with an idea for xmas years ago...instead of gifts we each plan a trip and then weigh pros and cons of each and then take the trip sometime during the year.  Not that this saves money, but the money spent is at least on an experience vs. a material something that might not add much value in the long run.

elaine amj

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2016, 09:46:31 AM »
I love it!! I need some ideas for gifts for SILs, and nieces and nephews.

I did start by buying books from yard sales/used book sales. I have a stash of a few beautiful, brand new books I bought for a song. Not homemade, but super frugal :) REALLY want to try to bring down the cost of my Christmas gifts this year. I'd love to give jars of something yummy but not sure what yet. My kitchen skills are somewhat limited.

choppingwood

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2016, 02:21:33 PM »
Has anyone made vanilla essence using something other than vodka? Do you think gin would work, or does it have too much flavour?

I don't tink Gin would work since it is more herbaceous flavored, where vanilla is a warming spice. I have used black strap molasses rum which was awesome! Any rum would work.

Bummer. All I have is gin. I think I'll buy some vodka and start some jars this weekend. Just add a vanilla bean to a jar of liquor and leave in a dark cupboard, right?

There a recipe on www.nwedible.com, along with Erica's thoughts on what else to use as a base.

Susan

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2016, 03:16:30 AM »
Edit: Oh, I remembered one more idea that someone can steal! Years ago I made super hero capes for my niece and nephew. I got one yard of fabric for each cape - bright pink for her and bright blue for him - and I think a half yard of yellow. I cut one corner into a U shape (so the overall square now looked like something took a bite out of that corner) for the neck area, and at the tips of the U I rounded it off and hemmed the whole thing and attached little velcro strips. The velcro is so the cape would stay on if they were running around but if, say, a sibling were to grab the other one's cape the grabee wouldn't get choked. Then I carefully traced out their first initials on the yellow fabric and cut it out. I can't remember if I sewed it on or attached it some other way, but I finished it off with black puff fabric paint to outline the letter (and hide the raw edges of the yellow fabric). Minimal cost, not that much time, but they loved the custom capes.

This sounds so cool! Thanks for the idea, I might make this for my nephews.

katesilvergirl

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2016, 07:48:56 AM »
Yeah! I love homemade and I love Christmas! I've got a series of Star Wars themed Christmas cross-stitch ornaments going for various people, as well as some yarn related crafts.

So far, I'm planning to make:
-"I find your lack of holiday spirit disturbing" ornaments for friends and my Dad
-Felted dryer balls for Grandma and Mom - http://makezine.com/2014/02/06/3-ways-to-make-felted-wool-dryer-balls/
- Knitted American Girl doll clothes for a niece

I'm toying with making some felt flower wreaths (mostly because I want one), but I think they will take forever. I will probably also put together a craft supply kit for a friends kids' (7 and 2ish). This has been a great kid gift I've done before. I collect small odds and ends (pipe cleaners, random paper, googly eyes, felt, foam, wood pieces, ribbon, etc.) and put them in a small plastic organizer box and gift that along with some sticky foam board, so the kids can just take the random supplies and easily stick them on the board (no scissors, no glue). It's very cheap, since I get the organizer boxes from a thrift store or on sale and most of the craft supply pieces come from my own stash.

Yay! Excited for Christmas!

MrsDinero

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #25 on: August 05, 2016, 08:18:48 AM »
Those are great ideas! We usually make something but haven't decided what we will be doing yet.

I forgot I already started on some blankets for my dad and 2 brothers.  I crochet a lot so I decided to make them each one.  My mother didn't want one as I made her a wrap a few years ago and my niece already has one.  Both still use what I made them.

I've attached pics.  The blue/gray one still needs edging put on and the "dad blanket" is almost at the length and width I want it to be (the outside color is red).  I haven't started on the 3rd blanket.  My brother is a big Doctor Who fan so I was thinking about making him a Tardis blanket.


meerkat

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #26 on: August 05, 2016, 08:19:44 AM »
I'm going to repurpose a coffee table into a home made train table/activity table for my toddler. I'd love to start on it now but I need to wait till the weather cools off and there's less mowing to do so I can actually spend time working on it. The coffee table itself was a Craigslist find years ago for $20.

Edit: I decided I'm going to do an under-the-bed type train table but build it to the dimensions of the coffee table so it can go over it like a wooden slip cover. When not in use we'll tuck it between the couch and the wall (note to self, may want to put felt on the corners to protect the couch/wall).
« Last Edit: August 05, 2016, 09:49:20 AM by meerkat »

SomedayStache

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #27 on: August 05, 2016, 08:42:32 AM »
Edit: Oh, I remembered one more idea that someone can steal! Years ago I made super hero capes for my niece and nephew. I got one yard of fabric for each cape - bright pink for her and bright blue for him - and I think a half yard of yellow. I cut one corner into a U shape (so the overall square now looked like something took a bite out of that corner) for the neck area, and at the tips of the U I rounded it off and hemmed the whole thing and attached little velcro strips. The velcro is so the cape would stay on if they were running around but if, say, a sibling were to grab the other one's cape the grabee wouldn't get choked. Then I carefully traced out their first initials on the yellow fabric and cut it out. I can't remember if I sewed it on or attached it some other way, but I finished it off with black puff fabric paint to outline the letter (and hide the raw edges of the yellow fabric). Minimal cost, not that much time, but they loved the custom capes.

This sounds so cool! Thanks for the idea, I might make this for my nephews.
An alternative cape approach is something I did for my 5 year olds birthday party.

I bought black t-shirts from goodwill and cut them into capes.  Its exceptionally easy and requires no sewing (google t-shirt cape but in short you leave the neckband in place and cut down along the back.  So the front of the shirt isn't used at all and the back becomes the cape.)  I did go ahead and cut the neck and sew velcro on to remake the circle so that there was no choking hazard.  Other people glue on velcro for a 100% no-sew project, but I didn't trust the velcro would stay in place.

I got a variety of cheap felt and cut into letters (their initials) and shapes (like the superman diamond, stars, etc).  I let the children decorate their own cape and attached the felt shapes with fabric glue.  So it was a fun craft project & a great party favor.

meerkat

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #28 on: August 05, 2016, 09:47:41 AM »
An alternative cape approach is something I did for my 5 year olds birthday party.

I bought black t-shirts from goodwill and cut them into capes.  Its exceptionally easy and requires no sewing (google t-shirt cape but in short you leave the neckband in place and cut down along the back.  So the front of the shirt isn't used at all and the back becomes the cape.)  I did go ahead and cut the neck and sew velcro on to remake the circle so that there was no choking hazard.  Other people glue on velcro for a 100% no-sew project, but I didn't trust the velcro would stay in place.

I got a variety of cheap felt and cut into letters (their initials) and shapes (like the superman diamond, stars, etc). I let the children decorate their own cape and attached the felt shapes with fabric glue.  So it was a fun craft project & a great party favor.

That's GENIUS. I still remember decorating tshirts with puff paint at my eighth birthday party, I loved that shirt even though it was ... well, it looked like an eight year old had been let loose with paints. Doing it with shirt-capes and some precut felt pieces sounds even better!

G-dog

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #29 on: August 05, 2016, 10:18:48 AM »
I'm going to repurpose a coffee table into a home made train table/activity table for my toddler. I'd love to start on it now but I need to wait till the weather cools off and there's less mowing to do so I can actually spend time working on it. The coffee table itself was a Craigslist find years ago for $20.

Edit: I decided I'm going to do an under-the-bed type train table but build it to the dimensions of the coffee table so it can go over it like a wooden slip cover. When not in use we'll tuck it between the couch and the wall (note to self, may want to put felt on the corners to protect the couch/wall).

Some felt in the inside to protect the coffee table too?

meerkat

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #30 on: August 05, 2016, 11:21:05 AM »
I'm going to repurpose a coffee table into a home made train table/activity table for my toddler. I'd love to start on it now but I need to wait till the weather cools off and there's less mowing to do so I can actually spend time working on it. The coffee table itself was a Craigslist find years ago for $20.

Edit: I decided I'm going to do an under-the-bed type train table but build it to the dimensions of the coffee table so it can go over it like a wooden slip cover. When not in use we'll tuck it between the couch and the wall (note to self, may want to put felt on the corners to protect the couch/wall).

Some felt in the inside to protect the coffee table too?

Hmm, maybe. I feel like the felt will get messy  just by virtue of being in touching range of little kids and if it's attached to the table there's no way to clean it really, so I'm trying to figure out a balance between the end result being easy to wipe down and not damaging other furniture.

elaine amj

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #31 on: August 07, 2016, 09:57:04 AM »
I don't know what I'm making yet - but I just bought 8 mason jars at a yard sale so I can make something and jar it. Thought that would be nice for gifts to coworkers, etc. Any thoughts on something relatively simple to make that would look pretty?

1967mama

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #32 on: August 07, 2016, 03:12:17 PM »
I don't know what I'm making yet - but I just bought 8 mason jars at a yard sale so I can make something and jar it. Thought that would be nice for gifts to coworkers, etc. Any thoughts on something relatively simple to make that would look pretty?

What about scarves/shawls? Thinner fabric could be squished into the jar? Scarves can be made from polar fleece if you don't see at all. Or thinner Infinity Scarves could be made with minimal sewing. Just an edge and the joining the two ends.

Or you could fill them with homemade candy. Almond Roca is so easy to make and is even nice with just the toffee part (almond Roca minus chocolate and almonds).  It's just butter and water.

There's lots of neat jar recipes online, as I'm sure you know. Soups, muffins, cookies, etc

ETA: Daughter made chocolate covered popcorn today .. it was delicious and would be a terrific gift!
« Last Edit: August 07, 2016, 10:42:32 PM by 1967mama »

Mtngrl

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #33 on: August 07, 2016, 03:34:50 PM »
So glad to find this thread. Will have to look at older threads for ideas.
So far I have made monogrammed handkerchiefs for my husband and FIL (cut and hem white muslin, embroider monogram).
Last year I made flannel pajama pants and knit beanies for all the men in the family and they were a hit. Pajama pants are one of the easiest things to sew.
I'm putting together jars of home-grown and dried herbs to gift, and made some fancy quilted pot holders to pair with them. I also have a bunch of fancy jams (strawberry-rhubarb, apricot-vanilla, carrot cake and peach-amaretto-pecan.) I give these every year to neighbors, mail carrier, choir director, etc. and they are always a hit.
For those who don't know, Jo-Ann Fabrics has a big sale for Black Friday -- best time to buy fleece and flannel and various craft supplies.

meerkat

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #34 on: August 07, 2016, 04:57:48 PM »
I don't know what I'm making yet - but I just bought 8 mason jars at a yard sale so I can make something and jar it. Thought that would be nice for gifts to coworkers, etc. Any thoughts on something relatively simple to make that would look pretty?

I know someone who did sugar scrubs for the ladies and trail mix for the guys at work, all in mason jars.

BeautifulDay

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #35 on: August 07, 2016, 08:33:09 PM »
Following in the vain hope this will be the year MiL agrees to a small, thoughtful Christmas rather than just throwing money at it.

For years I allowed my MIL to set the just throw money at it Christmas theme.  After about 8 years of that I flat out refused to keep doing it.   Her rebuttal was to tell me something to the effect that it you don't buy gifts then you don't really love your family.  Utter rubbish.  I come from a much larger family than DH and my family simply can't afford a consumer Christmas.  Marrying into DH's fam was a huge shock compared with our traditions.  I simply told my MIL that "my fam doesn't really give much in the way of Christmas gifts and I love my fam very much. The one has nothing to do with the other."  I held my ground and Christmas has been much less spendy ever since. 

I also refused to give her a Christmas list.  That seems so strange to me.  I don't spend my time wishing for things I don't have. To me that just leads me to be dissatisfied with what I have.  For a while I would give her a list with things like socks and my favorite charities.  Now I don't even do that. 

DH and I have always given very simple gifts to family.  Even though we kept per gift/per person spending very low with my very large family and DH's semi-large family even modest gifts add up quickly.  So this year we are looking into making gifts.  DH makes furniture so we might do end tables for my parents. For the in laws we may make a customized wall art for their mountain cabin.   

englyn

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #36 on: August 07, 2016, 08:45:08 PM »
  My brother is a big Doctor Who fan so I was thinking about making him a Tardis blanket.
For easier and more subtle, you could make a 4th-Doctor-scarf blanket

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #37 on: August 08, 2016, 01:19:30 AM »
Following in the vain hope this will be the year MiL agrees to a small, thoughtful Christmas rather than just throwing money at it.

For years I allowed my MIL to set the just throw money at it Christmas theme.  After about 8 years of that I flat out refused to keep doing it.   Her rebuttal was to tell me something to the effect that it you don't buy gifts then you don't really love your family.  Utter rubbish.  I come from a much larger family than DH and my family simply can't afford a consumer Christmas.  Marrying into DH's fam was a huge shock compared with our traditions.  I simply told my MIL that "my fam doesn't really give much in the way of Christmas gifts and I love my fam very much. The one has nothing to do with the other."  I held my ground and Christmas has been much less spendy ever since. 

I also refused to give her a Christmas list.  That seems so strange to me.  I don't spend my time wishing for things I don't have. To me that just leads me to be dissatisfied with what I have.  For a while I would give her a list with things like socks and my favorite charities.  Now I don't even do that. 

MiL is more the type who will spend carelessly at Christmas, then spend January fearing the arrival of the credit card statement.

She and FiL are teachers and receive gifts from almost every student, half the faculty, and from the school itself. Every year this means dozens of boxes of chocolate, calendars, other stationery, wine, coffee mugs, just piles of generic gifts.

MiL takes everything out of its packaging, piles it under the Christmas tree for a month, then stashes it in the linen cupboard, then after five years will talk about having a garage sale. (The chocolates she unwraps, places in bowls all over the house, then complains about Christmas weight gain.) Then she goes shopping to buy chocolates and generic gifts for her hairdresser, mailman, neighbours, etc... 

Quote
I don't spend my time wishing for things I don't have. To me that just leads me to be dissatisfied with what I have.

You have articulated that beautifully.

So that I actually contribute something useful to the thread, these are super easy Christmas sweets that I make for parties, gifts for colleagues, etc.

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/14879/mini+christmas+puddings

nnls

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #38 on: August 08, 2016, 01:45:12 AM »
Following in the vain hope this will be the year MiL agrees to a small, thoughtful Christmas rather than just throwing money at it.

For years I allowed my MIL to set the just throw money at it Christmas theme.  After about 8 years of that I flat out refused to keep doing it.   Her rebuttal was to tell me something to the effect that it you don't buy gifts then you don't really love your family.  Utter rubbish.  I come from a much larger family than DH and my family simply can't afford a consumer Christmas.  Marrying into DH's fam was a huge shock compared with our traditions.  I simply told my MIL that "my fam doesn't really give much in the way of Christmas gifts and I love my fam very much. The one has nothing to do with the other."  I held my ground and Christmas has been much less spendy ever since. 

I also refused to give her a Christmas list.  That seems so strange to me.  I don't spend my time wishing for things I don't have. To me that just leads me to be dissatisfied with what I have.  For a while I would give her a list with things like socks and my favorite charities.  Now I don't even do that. 

MiL is more the type who will spend carelessly at Christmas, then spend January fearing the arrival of the credit card statement.

She and FiL are teachers and receive gifts from almost every student, half the faculty, and from the school itself. Every year this means dozens of boxes of chocolate, calendars, other stationery, wine, coffee mugs, just piles of generic gifts.

MiL takes everything out of its packaging, piles it under the Christmas tree for a month, then stashes it in the linen cupboard, then after five years will talk about having a garage sale. (The chocolates she unwraps, places in bowls all over the house, then complains about Christmas weight gain.) Then she goes shopping to buy chocolates and generic gifts for her hairdresser, mailman, neighbours, etc... 

Quote
I don't spend my time wishing for things I don't have. To me that just leads me to be dissatisfied with what I have.

You have articulated that beautifully.

So that I actually contribute something useful to the thread, these are super easy Christmas sweets that I make for parties, gifts for colleagues, etc.

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/14879/mini+christmas+puddings

Those mini christmas puddings actually look like something I could do, I normally epicly fail at making things that look good but that looks achievable. (I can make food that tastes nice but the presentation is never good...)

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #39 on: August 08, 2016, 02:53:24 AM »
So that I actually contribute something useful to the thread, these are super easy Christmas sweets that I make for parties, gifts for colleagues, etc.

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/14879/mini+christmas+puddings

Those mini christmas puddings actually look like something I could do, I normally epicly fail at making things that look good but that looks achievable. (I can make food that tastes nice but the presentation is never good...)

My tips:

- chill the royals in the fridge first
- melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water
- dip the top of the royals in the melted chocolate (don't bother messing around with piping bags)

Good luck. :)

nnls

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #40 on: August 08, 2016, 03:06:29 AM »
So that I actually contribute something useful to the thread, these are super easy Christmas sweets that I make for parties, gifts for colleagues, etc.

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/14879/mini+christmas+puddings

Those mini christmas puddings actually look like something I could do, I normally epicly fail at making things that look good but that looks achievable. (I can make food that tastes nice but the presentation is never good...)

My tips:

- chill the royals in the fridge first
- melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water
- dip the top of the royals in the melted chocolate (don't bother messing around with piping bags)

Good luck. :)

Will update after I have tried making it. Usually my attempts at these things end up like one of these "Nailed It" memes

elaine amj

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #41 on: August 08, 2016, 07:13:48 AM »
Just remembered that this year, my mother is visiting from Nov - Dec. This means she can help me with my homemade Christmas gifts! She is an awesome baker and has amazing patience with decorating stuff. She is also a chocolatier (used to have her own gourmet choc business), makes cheesecakes and chocolate cakes to sell, and has recently learned how to make incredibly beautiful jelly cakes. Will have to brainstorm some ideas with her.

Mtngrl

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #42 on: August 08, 2016, 08:05:17 AM »
One of the things I remember from Amy D's Tightwad Gazette books is the idea that presentation matters with a homemade gift. Her point was that if you give something simple like a jar of jam, taking the time to make a nice label, tie a ribbon around it and wrap it prettily, it makes a better impression -- especially with people who are hard to please. Think about if you went and bought jam at a gourmet shop -- it would be presented beautifully. She had the example of grape jelly they made -- which was accompanied by a label that included the story of picking the grapes for the jam, etc. The story itself was part of the gift. I always try to keep this in mind.

Last year I made copper bracelets for a couple of men in the family. I put them in little wooden boxes I had saved from who knows where. I decoupaged the boxes with botanical paper. A couple of guys commented on how they were saving the boxes to put stuff in. Here are instructions for the bracelets, which turned out wonderfully: http://www.instructables.com/id/Hardware-Store-Bracelet/

I also made lotion bars for women in heart-shaped molds and gifted them in heart-shaped metal boxes I bought on eBay. This is the tutorial I used: http://www.smockityfrocks.com/2010/01/homemade-lotion-bar-tutorial.html I may do some more of these this year, since I have ingredients left.

aetherie

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #43 on: August 08, 2016, 01:38:16 PM »
Following for ideas.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #44 on: August 09, 2016, 01:18:44 AM »
Has anyone made vanilla essence using something other than vodka? Do you think gin would work, or does it have too much flavour?

I don't tink Gin would work since it is more herbaceous flavored, where vanilla is a warming spice. I have used black strap molasses rum which was awesome! Any rum would work.

Bummer. All I have is gin. I think I'll buy some vodka and start some jars this weekend. Just add a vanilla bean to a jar of liquor and leave in a dark cupboard, right?

There a recipe on www.nwedible.com, along with Erica's thoughts on what else to use as a base.

Thanks for that, choppingwood!

I also made lotion bars for women in heart-shaped molds and gifted them in heart-shaped metal boxes I bought on eBay. This is the tutorial I used: http://www.smockityfrocks.com/2010/01/homemade-lotion-bar-tutorial.html I may do some more of these this year, since I have ingredients left.

Possibly a silly question: how do lotion bars WORK? Do you... rub them on dry skin? What is the process for using one?

Mtngrl

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #45 on: August 09, 2016, 07:27:59 AM »
The lotion bars are a solid option instead of liquid hand lotion -- so yes, you rub them on dry skin. They're more emollient than most lotions, so they are really good for very dry skin -- I especially like them on my feet and my husband likes them for his hands, which get very dry and cracked in winter.

Some people also use them for massage.

G-dog

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #46 on: August 09, 2016, 08:27:36 AM »
We've got shitloads of mint and lemon balm. Any ideas?

swick

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #47 on: August 09, 2016, 08:48:15 AM »
We've got shitloads of mint and lemon balm. Any ideas?

You could dry them and make a nice herbal tea blend.

You could make a lemon balm tincture

You could make a lemon balm infused oil and turn it into a salve ( Lemon balm is very good for cold sores, among other things)

You could make a mint/lemon balm simple syrup for cocktails


TabbyCat

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #48 on: August 09, 2016, 02:07:48 PM »
I'll join for the most part - I have a few new but cheap things to incorporate but a lot of DIY also. I like doing gift baskets - you can find things at the dollar store with a theme, add some hand made stuff and wrap in a thrifted basket with cellophane and it looks really nice. To those doing vanilla, orange lemon and lime extracts are easy too. Thrift store frames with pics added are also great. I am stumped on gifts for men that have all they need. Any ideas?

Mtngrl

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Re: Homemade Christmas 2016
« Reply #49 on: August 09, 2016, 07:52:57 PM »
I am stumped on gifts for men that have all they need. Any ideas?

Men really are tough. Especially if, like the men in my family, they don't have hobbies. As I said in an earlier post. last year I gave all the men flannel pajama pants that I sewed and knit beanies. They still wear the beanies all the time and my husband, at least, loves his PJ pants. I've also done monogrammed linen handkerchiefs.  I gave the copper bracelets to a couple of guys I knew would wear them. I've done hand-knit socks, but I don't think they were really appreciated, and socks take too long to give to someone who doesn't appreciate them. Food gifts work -- I did spiced nuts for my FIL last year and he really seemed to like them. One year my husband made his dad a clock for his shop out of machine parts (his dad was a mechanical engineer). That was a hit. Now that he is in his 80s and not very active, we usually give FIL food and books. I am giving him a fleece blanket this year -- he often gets cold and he can use this while reading or watching TV. (I'll probably add a large-print book to the gift). I did the rice-filled flannel bags for heating in the microwave one year and those were well received -- good for someone who suffers from back or neck pain.

My husband brews beer, so I am going to give him custom beer labels and some etched pint glasses. I will also probably give him one of the fleece blankets -- the one he uses in his recliner in winter is looking pretty ratty.

He has given home-brewed beer to the men who drink and that's always well received.