Christmas Presents: What I Gave

It’s Valentine’s Day, so let’s talk about Christmas presents!

I spent months and months working on Christmas presents last year.  (I’ve already started this year.)  It’s not all active work, of course, but I honestly did start working on last year’s presents in January.  (A good way to get yourself kicked off the handmade present list?  Criticize, even gently, something that I worked on for ten months.)  Anyway, one huge box of presents that I mailed to one side of our family went astray and only arrived two weeks ago.  (Thank GOODNESS it arrived at all.  I had actually given up on it.  Long story, but I sent it (priority mail!) to one address, that address had a forward on it, then they moved AGAIN and it was forwarded again.  Packages take a long time when they have to go through two forwards.)  But since all the presents have finally gotten to their destinations (with the whole forwarding thing, people who were visiting at Christmas were no longer there, so the lost package had to be split back up and remailed), I can discuss what I gave for Christmas presents this year.

I do three main types of gifts- a family gift, a little boy gift, and a little girl gift.  Some years there is overlap (like boys and girls get the same thing), but mostly that is it.  People who are actually related to us get individualized presents too, but I simplify things by choosing something that I can give to all my friends and all of Elizabeth’s friends and everyone will be happy.  (This actually allows me to give more people gifts than if I had to spread my energies by picking something different for each person.)

This year our family gift was:

It is a set of Christmas napkins, a homemade jar of chocolate syrup, a bag of fancy marshmallows, and a s’more candle.  The card said “Merry Christmas!  Have some hot chocolate on us!  And if you get some on you, here are some napkins to clean it up!”  I made all the napkins with my serger (I did this in October) and my glorious mother cut them all out for me.  (I have forgotten the exact number of napkins I made, but I made something like 90.  Making 90 napkins takes a LONG time.)  The recipe for the chocolate syrup is here.  The marshmallows were gingerbread flavored and looked like little gingerbread men, and french vanilla flavored and looked like snowmen.  I found them at the grocery store.  The candles I bought years ago and they went perfectly with my hot chocolate theme.

Little boys got:

Those are tuxedo t-shirts that I made myself.  I ordered all the shirts online in bulk (I made thirteen, I think?) and made all the bow ties and sewed them and the buttons on by hand.  These were a huge hit.  Several of the little boys who got them wore them on Christmas, others wore them on New Year’s Eve (I got pictures! Complete with New Year’s Eve hats and noisemakers!) and at least one of them is being worn at a summer wedding this year.  They look snazzy, but are sewn just on a regular t-shirt, so they are comfortable and (in my opinion anyway) wearable for every day.

Little girls got:

That is a year’s worth of hair clips, you guys.  TWELVE.  In themes for each month.  Actually, I made these a bit too early in the year because I actually got better at hair clip making since then.  Oops.  One of the downfalls of planning ahead so well.  (Since custom made hair clips like that are about $5 each, I’d like to point out that this is about a $60 value gift.  APPRECIATE ME.)  (Actually, all the recipients of the hair clips did appreciate them appropriately.  They will be staying on the handmade gift list for next year.)

And, we had a handmade, for family only gift.  (I wanted to give these to everyone, but it was cost prohibitive.  Blah.  I hate when practicalities get in the way of me having Christmas fun.) This one actually took the longest for me to make and is the one I started on first and worked on this most.  HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS, I am telling you.  (Most recipients were warned that they better provide the proper amount of effusive praise for this one or risk my WRATH.)

This (HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS) gift was a family cookbook.  I sneakily obtained recipes from various members of the family that cook, edited them all (I’m not kidding, one recipe as it was given to me contained the phrase “mix in a large bowel” instead of “bowl”), added pictures (mostly of Elizabeth, since she is A) our family’s only baby and B) readily available to me when I have a camera, and had it printed.  You can see the cookbook here.  (It’s the first one, but you’ll have to scroll down a bit to see it.)  And a special shout-out to the two fabulous online ladies who proofread and edited it for me because I had honestly spent untold hours staring at it by that point and the words were imprinted into my brain.

We gave a lot of individualized presents too, obviously, but I always like to share my good ideas here in case any of you want to copy them.  (I have begun working on next year already, you guys.  And it is going to be awesome.)