About 16 years ago, my family started the tradition of giving homemade gifts for Christmas. I believe the tradition started when I wanted to make a bone-shaped pillow for my brother whose nickname was Bones. I suggested that we all make gifts for each other that year and the tradition has continued. The rules are simple really, everyone draws a name of another family member and you make a gift for them instead of buying something (I must admit that the rules aren’t always followed!)
This tradition has turned out to be one of those love/hate things. I love the night we all get together to exchange gifts. It’s so fun to see what everyone has created. Some years the presents are over-the-top creative while other years not so much. The “hate” aspect comes in trying to think of what to make. Once you have your idea and know how to execute it, the creating of the gift is usually really fun.
If you marry into our family, you marry into the tradition and that is another “hate” of the project. My husband usually complains for a good solid month before the night of the gift exchange. However, just like the rest of us he loves the evening and is proud to exchange a well-crafted gift.
In the beginning we would exchange gifts on Christmas Day. We decided to make a change because my brothers usually spent the day in hiding trying to finish their gifts! Now we get together for dinner at my parent’s house just days before Christmas, adults only, and we present our homemade gifts.
This year turned out to be another great night of homemade gifts. Here are the gifts that were created, as usual I was very impressed!
My sister Danielle gave my mom this beautiful Christmas tree that she made out of old sheet music. Danielle is a pianist and currently teaches piano so it has some sentimental value as well. (She saw the idea on Rock Star Diaries blog)
This was my gift to my brother-in-law Ty who is a lover of all things hot chocolate! I bought some red mugs, to match their new kitchen, and wrote the initial of each member of their family using a ceramic pen. Then I baked them so they are now dishwasher safe. I packaged the mugs in a snowman bowl with bags of different shaped marshmallows and some gourmet hot chocolate mixes.
My sister Brecken made a special scrapbook for my brother Tyson. She contacted many of his friends from Brazil that he met on his LDS mission. They sent letters and pictures letting him know what they are up to. She also gave him a binder called Tyson’s Secret. He is “supposedly” a great motivator and has given her, and her friends, advice as they have moved to California and started new jobs.
My brother Parker made two presents this year. He made this wreath for Greg as well as the mug below. He first made the mug at Color Me Mine and then decided to make the wreath. A “special” girl helped him make the wreath and since Parker is a bachelor I think there may have been an ulterior motive to the two gifts! Nonetheless, we were all quite impressed with his skills.
Greg served his LDS mission in Peru and loves the people and the country. The mug has the Peruvian flag on it. Parker spent about 4 hours at Color Me Mine to get it just right. He said the girl who worked there had a lot of great tips to get the detail just right. Maybe she was also quite attractive!
Greg made my sister Rachael some homemade Vanilla Extract and some Rosemary Infused Olive Oil. He added some homemade Swedish Almond Cookies and a baguette to dress up the package. The vanilla needs to sit on the shelf for 3-4 months before it is used. Here is a recipe of how to make it.
My brother Tyson made my bother-in-law Frank some mugs with a picture on it. The picture is of Frank, his two sons Drew and Mark, and my brothers. They are commonly referred to as ”The Dudes” by Frank and Rachael’s three-year old son Mark. The one mug is white with the picture and the other is a “magic” mug. It’s black but when a hot drink is poured into it the mug turns white and the picture appears, pretty cool.
I have always loved having a little side job besides my full-time gig as a mom. I recently decided to go to real estate school and start working on the side as a real estate agent. My brother-in-law Frank owns a title company, Cottonwood Title, and he made me a “Real Estate Survival Kit” so I will be ready for all of those closings!
Rachael gave my sister Danielle this Family Home Evening packet. It is filled with great lessons and activities to do with the kids for FHE. One year she gave me this same present and we have loved all the great activities and lessons. It has been a great tool for us when we get our kids together on Monday nights for family night.
My brother Parker has been living the good life lately. He worked really hard for years and saved his pennies so that he could take some time off and tour around South America. He started in Colombia and went all over South America for about nine months. Now it’s back to reality! My dad
made bought him this book on how to nail that upcoming job interview along with a crisp white shirt and classic tie.
My sister Brecken received this great hot chocolate maker (we love this hot chocolate maker, find out more about that here) along with some hot chocolate and personalized mugs that unfortunately weren’t shipped in time for the big night. Ty put this together knowing that Brecken also loves a good cup of hot chocolate. This year kind of ended up being the year of the mugs!
My mom gave my dad an incredible book of memorabilia that my grandma had saved over the years. It was so fun to see the pictures of my dad as a baby and then as a teenager with his band and his first car.
It really was another fabulous year of homemade gifts, glad it’s over but it really was great! Maybe you will want to incorporate this as one of your Christmas traditions next year.
Posted by Andrea