We made most of our Christmas presents by hand this year.
It wasn’t about being “eco friendly” or “sustainable” or any of those other buzz words that are so popular these days. It wasn’t about saving money (although this was an added offshoot). It just involved putting a bit of extra thought into what our friends and family might like, and what we wanted to add to the world. There’s a lot of junk that gets passed around at Christmas time and we decided that we didn’t want to add to it. The gifts we gave were quality handmade objects that people could use, admire and enjoy. It made the act of gift-giving all the more special knowing that the items we were giving had come from our very hands, with our own time and hearts invested into each one.
Here’s what we made:
> Christmas ornaments from air-dry clay.
> Christmas cookies – shortbread and pepperkake spice biscuits (recipe here). We gave little bags of these to workmates, family and neighbours.
> Our soap was ready just in time to wrap into little gift bundles.
> Our own beer, brewed at this local business. We made a London Porter and bottled it into nice glass bottles that made a neat gift for the beer connoisseurs in our lives.
> A framed vintage Winnie the Pooh illustration for our little nephew.
> These sweet baby bonnets for my niece and a friend’s baby, from a pattern by Melissa Wastney.
> Most of our family received a framed artwork. The raptor-lovers of the family received original karearea/falcon drypoint etchings (made at the workshop with Alexis Neal, and framed with mats by Shane).
> The others were given a layered lino print, which I created using new layering and texturising techniques I’ve been experimenting with, and the ‘in flight’ lino blocks I carved earlier last year. It was pretty neat to see these come to life over a number of weeks. Each is similar but different.
I really couldn’t wait to see my loved ones’ faces as they opened their gifts this year; physical representations of our time and love.