This year, due largely in part to The Advent Conspiracy, we "conspired" to make as much as was feasible to give as gifts. I crocheted a shawl/wrap for Jon's mother, and though it wasn't perfect, I enjoyed making it and she liked it. Jon made a dartboard cabinet for his dad, complete with chalkboard-painted interior. I made "treasure boxes" for all my nieces and nephews, with wooden cigar boxes I got at a thrift store and decoupage. I glittered up an old flower-girl dress for Abbie to be a princess (and she's hardly taken it off since Christmas day!). I made matching dresses (my first BIG sewing project!) for Katie and her doll, Jolena. Jon made a rubber-band gun (actually, three of them) for Micah. He's had it in his hand pretty much ever since.
We go pretty easy on gifts for Christmas, anyway. We try to adhere to "something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read" for the kids. It is VERY hard for me not to buy everything in sight for them. It's really hard for me not to buy in the commercialism crap of the season. But, I do have to say that this Christmas was, by far, the least stressful and most meaningful that I can remember. I spent a lot of time baking and giving baking away. I spent time doing projects with my kids for other people. We kept secrets and did a little shopping. We chose gifts with far more care than I can ever remember. Because the stress of "getting everyone the PERFECT gift" was removed. The "perfect gift" has already been given, people! His name is Jesus and He is altogether lovely. The stuff we give each other is just that...stuff. It's fun to give gifts. I love that this year, at the ripe old age of 33, I'm finally starting to "get" Christmas. (I'm a slow learner, apparently. My kids seem to already know this.) My favorite part of Christmas this year was the hour or so we spent at the nursing home, singing Christmas songs and Jesus Loves Me and the Battle Hymn of the Republic with the Alzheimer's patients. It was truly a blessing beyond every material gift I got or gave this year to see my kids and my parents and my husband giving of themselves to love other people.
(I think the residents liked it, too!)
Merry (late) Christmas and happy new year!