Christmas has always been a big deal in my family, loaded with lots of little things we did together. It was my mom’s favorite holiday and though money was always in short supply, the food was bountiful! We celebrate on Christmas Eve, I’m not sure exactly how that got started but it’s a tradition now and we all take our turn as the host/hostess.
We decorated the tree as a family, every year we would fight over who would put the “big” ornament and the lighted angel on the tree. We made ornaments and baked tons of cookies and candy to give as gifts and to devour during Christmas break.
When I bought a home of my own, I tried to keep some of the traditions going for myself and my friends. I also added one tradition that once I started, it took on a life of it’s own and now has become a challenging task ! Every year I try to make a homemade gift for my family members. Keep in mind I have 9 brothers and sisters, 14 grown nieces and nephews (many are married now) and 8 great-nieces and nephews! There is no way I could afford to buy them all fabulous gifts, so the crafter inside me was brought out to play.
I’ve made a lot of different items over the years, some big, some small, some time consuming and others easy. I’ve made ornaments,cookies and candy, jelly and apple butter, oven mitts, infused liquor, gift baskets and many other crafty things. I thought I would share some of the highlights from over the years.
The year I made oven mitts, I went crazy and made them for almost everyone, I ended up making 25 pairs!
I used a tutorial similar to this DIY Oven Mitt Tutorial I used 2 different printed fat- quarters to make make mine and used the extra strip from the end to bind the edge of the opposite mitt. I also did not line them with fabric, as I felt this was unnecessary, the batting is soft inside and the quilting makes it stay together.
On a couple different occasions I made gifts in a jar, such as cookies or brownies. One year I made soup jars and bought a bread mix to complete the gift. Remember when making a gift like this, to always add a tag or card with the complete directions on it. You don’t want them to throw it out because they don’t know what to do with it! If you want to give them a try check out the cookie recipes here Gifts In a Jar
Another great site for gifts is Frugal Girls! They have tons of great gifting ideas that are all put in jars. Find some ideas here. Unusual Gifts In A Jar
Something I’ve made for adults are infused liquor. I have made tons of different flavor combinations and really most of them were amazing. But check out these created by fellow Soshal Club blogger Kirstyn Yanniello. They are both tasty and pretty to look at. You can find them here. Infused Booze Gifts- DIY
If you need a good Apple Butter Recipe, look no further. This one is made in a crock pot and then sealed in jars, so it doesn’t need to be refrigerated! It’s a family favorite and makes about 7-8 pints, so it’s perfect for gifting.
- 9 lbs Apples (I mix 6 lbs Macintosh and 3 lbs Granny Smith)
- 2 3/4tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 3/4c. sugar
- Pick your apples, Macintosh are perfect,I will choose them as a base, however mix in any of your favorites, my sister uses 3-4 different kinds.
- Peel and core apples, slice them and put them into a large crock pot.
- Start cooking the apples on high for about 2-3 hours. Stir occasionally(Apples will have started breaking down).
- Add spices and sugar and reduce heat to low. Continue cooking for another 4-5 hours.
- Apples should be soft and not be lumpy. Taste test and adjust spices to taste. For a smoother texture use a potato masher to remove any lumps.
- Increase heat to high, Wash your jars and rings. Put the lid seals in a small pan cover with water. Place pan on a burner and turn heat to medium.
- When jars and lids are ready, ladle Apple Butter into jars, fill up to the jar neck, wipe off jar threads and put a seal and lid on and close tightly.
- Continue filling the rest of the jars.
- As the Butter cools the jars should start sealing, press button in the center of lid to ensure they are completely sealed. If sealed, store in a cool place. If they didn't seal properly, place in refrigerator.
This year I made these fun Minion Pin Cushions for my sisters that are seamstresses and quilters. They were fun to make and are just too cute, I can see the kids trying to steal these from their moms! I made this from a tutorial from DIY all things. I had to read through the instructions a few times but the results were worth it! You can find the directions here.> DIY Minion Pincushion
I am so happy to share a bit about my family and some of our traditions. I hope it will get you inspired and ready for the holidays. Don’t forget to save and share this post, it’s always good to have a few ideas in your back pocket, when you have absolutely no idea what to get for someone.
Merry Christmas!, Lana