The best simple & inexpensive homemade Christmas gifts

by Mary Ann on December 30, 2010

A Peaceful Christmas Part 2 – Keeping it simple brings peace (Part 1).

girl christmas tree pictures

Kate in a Christmas past

Yesterday I told you that Don and I decided that we weren’t going to spend any money this season. We focused on gifting  simple & inexpensive home made gifts that made our family  happy beyond limits.

I bet you are wondering what we did do for Christmas,without buying any gifts, and how our family felt about it. I also mentioned that we pared down our Christmas activities in order to have more quiet time at home, to have peace, which is what the season is really all about. Today I want to share a few of the things that happened because of that decision.

We sent our grown children, books which we selected out of our own library that we felt would have meaning for them, would help them in some way or that they would just love reading,as their Christmas gift. We also sent mementoes of the past that we thought might bring some joy and touch a heart. I’ll share what happened with two of our sons.

man smiling pictures


One thing that we sent Seth, who turned 37 on the 27th of December, was the karate gee he had when he was nine years old. When I asked him how he liked his presents he said, “It still fits.” What fits, I replied. “My gee; it still fits. The legs and sleeves are short but it fits.” Amazing! He was so happy to know that it still existed and that he now had it, that he tried it on. He loved receiving that gift.

man hiking pictures


One of the things that we sent our son Andrew was a Christmas plaque that has hung in our home since the year he was born. I made it 30 years ago and it was a homely little thing. His sister Jenny, who rooms with him, said that when he opened his gift, his eyes got all tearful. He said that it was a ‘cool’ present and that he thought Jenny was just a tad jealous. : ) It meant a lot to him.

family photo

Marie, Parker, Elizabeth, Ashley, Aubrey

I worried about our grandchildren and how they would feel about their gifts. To one family with four children we sent ten envelopes, each containing a picture or story and six small pieces of candy. Each story or picture had something to do with the Christmas season and the purpose for it. It was all just paper and a few bits of candy. Yet when I asked Marie what the children thought she replied that they were so excited and that Aubrey, who is eleven said, “We have the best grandma and grandpa in the whole world”. This from an almost teenager!

For the 21 years that we lived in Laurel, MT. my best friend Linda Brannon would bring us a HUGE platter of assorted cookies. Because we had seven children she didn’t just bring a token plate, she brought a platter. It was really the height of the Christmas season for our children. Baking cookies was an art for Linda and consumed about two weeks of each December. It was a labor of love for her.

mom and baby pictures

Jodie and Mary

About a week before Christmas Jodie, my oldest daughter, mentioned that she was feeling really nostalgic about those cookies. I decided that I would recreate that experience for her for Christmas,as a special gift. I took one whole Saturday and baked up a storm. Then Don and I gifted the cookies to her.

Later she told me this story. Doug, her husband had been feeling a bit down. He just didn’t have the Christmas spirit. Both of Doug’s parents are deceased. She said that when the cookies came into their home his entire countenance changed. He became animated, happy, and full of joy. I think that it reminded him of mother and home.

As a postscript to this experience I decided to take another day and bake up another storm, to replace all the cookies that we had given away, to Jodie and other families. I had the distinct impression to let it go, that it wasn’t necessary. I didn’t bake and spent that day instead loving and being present with my family.

Tune in tomorrow for the rest and final bit of the story,A letter of love & gratitiude-My Christmas gift to mom.

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