Homemade Christmas Gifts...Ready, Set, GO!!
So it's that time of year again when money just seems to fly out of the bank account. What can really break the bank is getting gifts for the whole extended family -- aunts, uncles, grandmas, cousins, great-uncle George's best friend (who is that guy who always ends up at the family Christmas party?)...
You want to get them all more than a card, but money and time just aren't your friend. You could just go out and buy everyone a gift card, but who wants a $15 gift card to the GAP? That buys maybe half a shirt?
Then you think, Hmmm, perhaps something homemade... But you count the number of people in your extended family and crawl into the fetal position to comfort yourself from the impending stress that comes from making 15 people homemade gifts.
EVERY YEAR I stress myself out making everyone homemade goodies. Jams, candles, cookies, candies, soap... By the time Christmas rolls around I'm usually ready to blow my brains out and sleep for seven years.
BUT THIS YEAR I DID SOMETHING RIGHT.
This year I made a plan.
I streamlined the usually stressful process of my must-make-all-the-gifts-homemade complex that I seem to have.
So here's the plan. You can obviously alter it to fit your family's specific needs but this is the plan that has left my Advent season stress free.
1. Choose to make TWO gifts:
Yes, friends, just two. One gift that you can give to everyone and one gift you can add onto the "everyone gift" for those close family/friends who deserve more than a tin of cookies.
For example, I'm making everyone a sample tin of Christmas cookies, and then for those extra-special people I'm adding on a bottle of homemade pumpkin liqueur to their gift.
2. Buy all supplies in one shopping trip:
Make yourself a list. Do you need cookie tins, gift ribbon, ground cinnamon, and almond extract? Make a list of every ingredient and supply you don't have and take one afternoon to shop for them. This will save you from making last minute shopping trips in the middle of all your other holiday happenings.
And shop the sales too. I knew I needed a large quanity of Christmas cookie tins, so I made sure to buy them when my local craft store was having a 50% off all Christmas items sale. It saved me a lot of money!
3. Choose 2 to 3 days to make your preparations:
For me, that's all I needed. I knew that by choosing to make an assortment of 5-7 different kinds of cookies for 15 people there would be no way I could do that all on Christmas Eve.
So I chose my recipes and set up two days where I made an assembly-line-like production of cookie doughs. I wrapped them up and have them waiting in the refrigerator to be baked and placed into their tins on Christmas Eve.
Along with the gifts themselves, take these couple of days to write your Christmas cards and gift tags to each of these people. Have everything ready so all you have to do is assemble the gift boxes the day before.
4. Make non-perishables a month in advance.
Yes, this means you must think ahead. But it keeps your Advent season less stressful and much holier.
We made our pumpkin liqueur around Thanksgiving and it's been sitting on the counter waiting to be given for a month now. I've haven't even put one thought into it this past month except putting a tag and a ribbon on it.
If you're making Christmas ornaments, sachets, soap, or whatever else tickles your fancy and doesn't go bad sitting on the shelf, MAKE IT AHEAD OF TIME. You will thank yourself the week before Christmas.
5. Ready, set, assemble!
A few days before Christmas get all your gifts ready to go. If you're making cookies, take your doughs out of the fridge, turn on the oven, and bake away! It's so easy you'll feel like you bought pre-made cookie dough.
Place everything in their designated boxes, wrap up, and place their cards with them.
On Christmas Day, all you have to do is distribute to your eager relatives. And I can pretty much guarantee that whatever you made, it will be much more warmly received than a mass produced card and some money.
What homemade gifts do you make for the holidays? How do you keep your holidays stress free? Share with us below!