Thursday, October 7, 2010

Handmade-American made Christmas

Mike and I have been talking about our plan for Christmas this year ever since we moved.
This will be our first "at home" Christmas and we are so excited.
Not that we don't love visiting our family around the holidays, but we have dreamed for years of our own Christmas traditions and waking up (in our own bed) to our very own family Christmas.
Ahh lovely.

One of the first things we decided was that this year we wanted to buy American-made or locally handcrafted items.
With the economy as bad as it were and a few eye opening experiences, we have come to the realization that for us it would be best if we supported our economy this way. We also feel the need as a traveling military family to support the area in which we are located as much as possible.
This of course means much less quantity and a lot more quality.

In the past we (mainly myself) have been very guilty buying loads of stuff from cheapo stores that we knew were going to break in oh 5 minutes just to have the illusion of a toy store in front of the tree. Since moving here, many toys and games have stayed up in the attic an have not been missed. Truly a sign that we are blessed and need of very little.

So this year our gifts will be handmade by us for our family or purchased from companies, or individuals that manufacture their products in the United States.
This seemed to be the most logical choice for us as a military family representing our country, we feel the need to support its economy in this fashion. This will mean a reduction in the number of packages under the tree, but I am sure that the quality, the thought, and the time put into each gift will mean so much more.

My buddy Nicole just posted about this herself and listed some very awesome businesses that she works with that are worth the browse. You can find them here.
For us we are starting with our own talents and talents we hope to learn and branch out from there. To fill in the gaps here are some sites that I have personally been perusing of late that offer Made in USA labels. A Site that hosts a myriad of companies for all your terrarium and funky plant growing needs they made Mr. Rogers' trolley. That alone merits a look see

Etsy is also a great place to find handmade items and to be able to focus your attention on American made.
I plan to make at least one gift for each member of my family living under this roof. Grandparents' gifts will be made mainly by the kids and other family members will either be purchased for through local companies or handmade by myself. This also means that giving gifts just for the sake of giving them will not be encouraged. In our family we usually abide by the "only buy gifts for the kids" mantra for anyone outside the immediate family and we will be seriously sticking to that this year.

This is our plan for the holidays, whats yours? Do you have wonderful crafty ideas cooking up or the inside scoop on a sweet business with some pretty unique gifts? Please do share, here, there, everywhere. Support yourselves, and support each other and together we can truly make this a MERRY Christmas


chris said...
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Carolina Benson Photography said...

I just have to tell you Allison, that every year I make all the women in my family and Larry's family something. I always find new and unique ideas throughout the year and I put those ideas to use. The year I learned to knit, everyone of scarves. The year I branched out into learning to paint, I painted large (inexpensive) glass candle holders, plates, and other large glass containers.

Last year was the best, and very inexpensive, fun and not very time consuming. I went to Walmart and found kitchen set (2 hand towels, 1 pot holder, and 1 oven mit) that were only $5.00 each. Then I found a set of 6 candles that were only $10.00-- there were 2 large ones and the rest were smaller ones. I got two sets - one set a pretty orange scented one, and the other set a pretty sented red one. Then I found bamboo spoons that came in sets of 5 each $3.00 each, and then I went and found fabric squares that matched the candle sets.

While there I wandered into the gardening section and found painted, clay flower pots that were the colors of my candles, and fabric.

When I got home, I used the fabric to create a cuffed border on the hand towels, pot holders, and over mits. I mixed and matched the fabric for each person (they were different patterns, but same color family) and then I put my gifts together.

Each person got a flower pot and in the flower pot I put a hand towel, pot holder, a set of spoons (all tied in matching ribbon) with a candle. Everyone loved it.

I had to make 5 sets so my grand total for 5 different people was $73.00. I spent less than $15 on each person and had candles and spoons left over for me.

I am working on this year right now. I am so excited about this one too. Will let you know how it turns out.


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