Would you love to do a homemade Christmas but the thought of it is so stressful that you find yourself getting stressed already? Are you sick of factory-made, ugly Christmas crap ? Would you love to lead your family in a more environmentally-friendly and creative Christmas? Do you dream of making the presents, the decorations, the gift wrap, the cards, and the food from scratch?
If you find yourself daunted by the whole idea of a Homemade Christmas, we have great tips to help you make it easier and more enjoyable.
Break Christmas down into several elements.
Basically, a homemade Christmas has a finite number of elements which is great. These elements are cards, presents, wrapping, Christmas gatherings (such as Christmas dinner), home decorating.
Take a huge sheet of butcher’s paper and plan under these headings. This is your first brainstorm. Under each heading just spend a few minutes and write your first ideas that come to your head.
Under presents, write down the names of everyone you will be giving presents to. Write the age of the children next to their names and then start to jot down some ideas for homemade gifts.
Under the title of cards, write down your ideas for homemade cards, and make lists of colleagues, friends, extended family and others who you give cards to.
Under the heading of Christmas Gatherings, write down the gatherings you are committed to and underneath write down what you are expected to do for this gathering. For example, the Family Christmas Gathering on 21 Dec, I will be bringing a dessert. Write down any work parties, neighbours house for drinks and any others you will need to plan for.
This will take some time and once you have finished you will now have a very visual and more clear path to a homemade Christmas. Now move onto the next steps…
Now we tackle each element in detail.
Each element needs to be looked at in more detail.
1. Christmas Cards
Write lists of Christmas card recipients under headings such as colleagues, friends, family. This will create a hierarchy of sorts. Don’t be afraid to make different cards for each group, according to your level of intimacy. Make the best cards for your husband, partner and children, extended family make simpler cards and for colleagues and distant friends, make cards that are even simpler.
Give yourself a deadline for handing out cards. For example, cards being sent will need to be finished three weeks before Christmas, work colleagues’ cards will need to be finished by the last day of work. Place deadlines in your phone or on your calendar so that you stick to them.
For card ideas, browse sites such as Pinterest. There are many ideas. Choose three different ideas for each group. To keep your choices simple, choose minimalist designs, choose simple colour combinations and choose designs which can be partly made on a computer. A way to make this easier again is to think of which techniques you will use to make the cards. Drawing and painting cards is time-consuming. Techniques such as printing, sewing and stamping are a lot quicker. Anything you can easily replicate is easy to make. Photo cards and quick to make.
Now to begin making cards, make a list of the materials you will need to make your cards. Gather and mark off any materials you already have. Make a list and buy the other materials on-line or head out on a shopping trip.
Then map out a space of time to begin making your cards. A great idea is to make cards in an assembly line and ask your children to help you. Or ask a girlfriend over for an evening of cardmaking and make both of your cards in one sitting. Another way to tackle cards is to set up all of your materials on a small table for a few weeks. Let the people you share your home with, know not to move anything or help themselves to it. Then whenever you have a few minutes, sit at the table and finish your cards.
When all your cards are made, write on them, envelope them, address them. Place a stamp on those that need to be sent and put them all into a shoebox marked clearly ‘Christmas Cards’.
You have made your list of Christmas gifts. If it seems overwhelming there are several ways to simplify. These may include:
- Negotiating with family. A few years ago, our family decided to stop giving gifts to the adults as we have many children and it was becoming very expensive. Our extended family is huge and we only give cards.
- Give family gifts or couples gifts. Instead of trying to find a gift for your sister and brother-in-law, give them a couples gift that they will both enjoy. Couples gifs may include giving a basket full of great products for amazing chemical-free, homemade Home and Skin Products such as Moisturising Bars, Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Scrub, Coffee Scrub Bars, Orange Power Cleaner and Chai Room Spray.
- Make the same gift so that you can make them in an assembly line which is much quicker. This year my family will be giving all of the grandchildren the same present. They will each be getting a pair of homemade pyjamas, which will be a pair of shorts for the boys and girls and a screenprinted/ appliqued tshirt. All of the boys’ pjs will be the same and the girls will be the same. We have nine children, so this will be fun to see. Another idea is to screenprint tshirts for all the children, or make them a gorgeous bag each. This idea cuts down on costs too as you can buy in bulk and use materials more economically.
- Give an early gift. This year we will be giving family gifts of advent calendars in the next few weeks to friends. They know to expect these and are not making or buying their own. This will simplify my list as I can mark these off my list and just give these families a card on Christmas day. They will have the whole of Advent to enjoy their gift from us.
When you have made your final list, you will be able to sort people into different lists, as you did with the cards. Remember that a lot of making a gift attractive is in the packaging. For example, Cookies in a Jar are a great gift to make for colleagues. These can be made at the same time and take very little time or materials to make. They are also inexpensive. There are many variations of gifts like this.
Tackle the presents in order of difficulty to make. Tackle the big ones, like your husband and children first. When you have your lists, make the list of materials you will need. Hunt around the house and work out what you have, mark this off and then get on-line or go shopping to find the rest.
Once again, when tackling the presents, it will be easier to make them in an assembly line. For example, if you are sewing bags, cut them all out at the same time, and then construct the same step at the same time. This makes it a lot quicker. Enlist the help of children and your partner, if they are able to help.
Or if you are working in small chunks, set aside a table and make it out of bounds. Then you can work on them when you have a spare 10 minute block. Of course, if they are for your children or partner, you will need to be a whole lot more secretive. This is what evenings are for.
We hope this is helpful. Join us for part two in a few days’ time, where we will tackle, gift wrapping, home decorating and Christmas gatherings…
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