We. have. so. MUCH!
It was about that time that I started looking at homemade gifts. Over the years, I've spent a lot of time making things for friends and family. One of my favorite gifts was the travel pads I made for our friends' children. It had a dry erase board on one side and a chalkboard on the other and a handle so that it could be suspended from the back of the car seat. I've also made my share of board games, wooden puzzles, rice packs, "mixes in a jar", and my other favorite Dammit Dolls (although the pattern I use for mine is very different than the ones I've found online - the poem I have is different, too).
Last year, though, I started thinking about things we could make from stuff we either grew or produced right here, right on our homestead, and I came up with an impressive list, actually.
The list included:
- maple syrup (although this is a pretty precious commodity, of which we get only a little, and so we're not as likely to share)
- honey (see maple syrup)
- wine and custom, non-hopped beers
- dried herbs
- herbed vinegars
- herbal tea
- rabbit jerky
- knitted items from dog fur
- soap (although we'd need fat that we don't produce here)
- beeswax candles
- salves, lip balm, and hand creams
- grapevine dream catchers
There are other things, too. This year, we made Dandy Kahlua, using a recipe a friend gave us. The recipe called for coffee, sugar and vodka, but we substituted our own roasted dandelion root for the coffee. We also bake gifts, using some things we've grown and some things we've purchased (or bartered for) - like canned pumpkin bread. I can sew, and I could make gifts from old clothes (like a bath mat or some pot holders or a quilt or cloth bags) or something like pajama pants or a poncho from an old sheet. I have an old copy of a Physician's Desk Reference, which would make an awesome treasure book.
There are dozens of ideas for homemade/handmade gifts, and for me, there is nothing quite like making something special for someone special. I like giving homemade gifts AND I like receiving them. To know that someone took the time to make something for me ... for me ... well, there's no feeling quite like that. One of my favorite gifts from last year was a couple of bottles of hot sauce made by a family member on their rural-suburban farm. We used it all up and savored every drop. And the jellies ... oh, my! This year, I can't wait to crack open the jar of lemon drop habanero jelly I received. I LOVE hot pepper jelly!
The best, unintentional gift, is that my children have caught the fever. This year Precious made for me my very own rice pack - hand sewn. It was a pretty awesome gift!
We gifted some of the items above this year, and all I can say is that I really enjoyed making every single thing that I made, and plans are already in the works for future Gifts from the Homestead.