OK, I know I am a little late to the party on this one, but I wanted to review a few of our holiday gifts for this year now that almost all of them have made it to their recipients. I will be mailing the last two packages this week (that's you H. and M. & P.) It's just that due to the snowstorm we had mid-December, I had to ship many more gifts than originally intended, and to me, shipping things is right up there with talking on the phone. Don't much like it. And because Elliot missed the week of school before the holidays, we just gave gifts to his friends and teachers today. So basically, this goes down as the l-o-n-g-e-s-t gift giving season on record.
A while back I mentioned that I was giving many gift cards this season, and that I wanted to come up with a nice way to package them. I was clicking from one blog to another one night and something reminded me of the Blueprint article showing wooden clogs as beautiful holiday "packaging." It had just the simple rustic look I was going for. So here's the plan. This year I gave several gift recipients a pair of wooden clogs that I painted, filled with a few small goodies + a gift card, as well as the following letter from my kids:
Now, from here on out for these pairs of gift recipients (each person received just one shoe, but is married to another recipient, who has the other shoe), we will collect small goodies-- hopefully throughout the year-- and then send them each person's spouse who will fill the clog on behalf of St. Nicholas. I thought it would be a challenge to come up with interesting small objects for the shoes for each person, and it would be fun to involve their spouse. I hope that this is a process that they begin to look forward to. The bonus? My plan is to buy a pair of wool socks that I fill throughout the year, and then ship them in that form, so the wool socks can serve as useful gift wrap as well as shipping material. And because the items are small, and will be a combination of handmade, consumable, and special items, hopefully they won't add too much clutter to the lives of others.
For Elliot's classmates, we took the advice of Amanda and purchased a bunch (100, I think) wooden acorns. I sewed little felt bags from some hand-dyed wool that my stepmom gave me last year. The beauty of these, is that I didn't have to trim the fabric at all, I just folded in half, sewed around three sides, trimmed the side seams with pinking shears, flipped right-side out, folded a few inches over, and placed a small red snap in the center. A few gift tags by Natascha Rosenberg (I love Little Red Riding Hood!) and I was done. Elliot picked which bag went to which child, which was fun to watch.
I made each of Elliot's teachers a gourd birdhouse (for those of you who don't know, Waldorf schools are big on natural and handmade items) painted Hummingbird green. For these I used another gift tag by Natascha Rosenberg. I accidentally printed these HUGE, but I loved them that way. All of the gifts for school were well received, and we got several small treasures in return. I love that Elliot sees the pleasure in giving and receiving little tokens like this.
The final idea I wanted to tell you all about is something that my husband and I came up with last year when we didn't want to spend a lot of money on each other, but still wanted to make the other person feel special. The best thing about this idea is that it can be done for almost any budget, and really is not limited to Christmas at all-- really Valentine's Day would be perfect. We try to give a gift for each of the five senses. Now really, if you think too hard about this, every gift on the planet could fall into these categories, but don't overthink it. We try and concentrate on ideas that are simple, useful, and consumable. Sort of a way to show someone that you were really thinking about them, not just running out and spend X amount on something that will just sit on a shelf or something (but if the recipient would really enjoy a small something for a shelf, that's perfectly acceptable!) Some things are free, some things cost very little, and some things can be a little more of a splurge. I'll give you my list from this year just to give you an idea. This is what he bought me.
We have a lot of fun with it. My husband is a very good gift giver anyway, but since we started doing this, I always feel very pampered. There is nothing better than knowing that a person was really thinking of you when they bought your gift.