Gifts from the Heart
Why spend time traveling from store to store for the perfect gift? Instead, gather the materials and make gifts from the heart right in your own home. Here are a few ideas.
Each year our neighbors exchange small gifts. Just before Christmas, I walk around the cul–de-sac to deliver loaves of potica - a rolled Slovenian nut-bread popular in my husband’s family. The slightly sticky, sweet dough is rolled out the size of my kitchen table. I then spread a filling of nuts, brown sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, and milk over the thin bread, roll it up like a jellyroll, and bake. The process is rather time consuming and not inexpensive. But, everyone looks forward to receiving this special treat each year, and I enjoy the accolades.
One neighbor bakes banana bread or something similar. Another, like me, has a special tradition of peanut butter/chocolate balls. Already we’ve received gingerbread cookies and a pocketed potholder with ingredients for cupcakes. One friend’s tradition is chocolate covered cherries. Yum!
Kitchen gifts are not the only kind of heartfelt gifts. My twin granddaughters made us football game lap blankets last year. They purchased CSU logo fabric and a matching solid color. They cut four-inch strips like fringe around the edges and tied the strips together to connect the two fabrics. Perfect for a cold game day!
Since I am a crafter, I’ve given hand-painted ornaments. Sometimes I paint a snow scene. Other times I purchase clear balls, drop paint inside, swish it around to make a contemporary design, and, once it dries, add another background color. A ribbon hanger completes the ornament. I’ve also used a scroll saw to cut wooden ornaments.
The Internet, books, and catalogs offer a wide variety of ideas for wooden or sewn ornaments. Hobby shops have a variety of ornament kits for purchase. Small wooden frames filled with a picture cut from an old Christmas card is another idea. Perhaps add a picture of a newborn or other relative instead.
For each of my seven grandchildren’s first Christmases, I sewed and decorated stockings. Simple, fancy, or plain, stockings can be made from burlap, felt, fleece, satin, or any other fabric of choice. Decorate in whatever style you want or copy ideas gleaned from magazines, the internet, catalogs, or craft stores. Line the stocking with muslin and blanket stitch around the edge to hold the two pieces together. Add a ribbon hanger in one corner.
Hand knitted or crocheted scarves offer warmth and love from the heart. Work on them after the day is done, while you relax in front of the TV. Decorative bulletin boards make great gifts. Use a piece of strong cardboard or plywood for the base. Cut into a simple rectangular shape or be creative and cut shapes like a boot, ice skate, snowman, football, or any other interesting shape. Choose a favorite fabric that matches the area where it will be hung. Lightly glue batting over the base. Stretch the fabric over the batting and glue or staple to the back. Crisscross ribbon over the surface and glue or staple to the back. Buttons or tacks anchored at each ribbon crossing adds stability and holds the ribbon in place. Glue another piece of fabric on the back to cover unfinished edges. Tuck favorite items, notes, and pictures through the ribbon.Pleasure comes not just on the receiving end of a handmade gift, but in the making of gifts from the heart.