This post might seem a little late as Christmas was yesterday and you probably could have used the idea a few weeks ago. However, since this is what I gifted my family this year, I had to keep it under wraps so no sneak peeks were going on.
For the past few years, the gift exchange during the holidays has been a little… different. For years, we used to buy each person a gift or two. But as the years went on and the family just kept expanding, it started getting more and more expensive. So a few years ago, we decided to do a Secret Santa style of drawing. We each drew names and had a $50 limit. It kept things a little easier on the wallet and we spent a lot less time unwrapping gifts and more time enjoying each other’s company.
Two years ago, we did the same, except somehow by fate each couple ended up drawing another couple’s name. If you’re wondering how we figured that out before the big exchange, let’s just say my family is the WORST at keeping secrets. It just does not happen. So by the time we left the house on Thanksgiving evening after drawing our names, we all knew who had who, and upped the limit to $100 per couple instead of $50 per person.
Then last year came around and I guess we were all getting a little tired of trying to figure out what to buy each other. Plus a few of us were trying to save for some other big expenses (for us, we had just returned from Europe for 18 days and needed our wallets to fill back up). We opted to do no gifts and instead go to the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Nutcracker as a family. That was fun, but again, I guess we didn’t hit the nail on the head with every family member.
So this year, we’re doing something new again. My grandma suggested that we all do handmade gifts and not go overboard. When I first heard the idea, I was giddy. I love making things and gifting them (although who knows how the giftees feel about the gifts they’ve received). I started thinking of all sorts of things I could make that would be special and not require too much work or time. After all, I had to come up with three gifts in total for three couples. After a longer brewing on it, I realized that all the handmade work was going to be done by the women, because none of the men in my family are all that handy or crafty (except for my 89-year old grandpa).
All that said, I wanted to make something that I’ve been meaning to do for years. A collection of my Grandma’s recipes that are all family favorites. At first, I planned to make them by hand, but then realized that it would be far too much for me to do all that work for the amount of recipes I wanted to include. So in early August, I wrote a list of all the recipes I wanted of my Grandma’s and had her hand-write them over the next few weeks on notecards for me.
Eventually those notecards turned into scanned images, which then were added to a Shutterfly book, that I customized for my family. Sure it wasn’t “handmade,” but there was plenty of work that was involved in creating them. Each book came out to be around $25 or so, which was not only a really great price, but not so bad when you consider the sentimentality of it.
The recipe books were a big hit and I think that each of us will always cherish having these recipes in one go-to place forever. I’ve always thought the idea of losing recipe cards from years ago was just a terrible thing, so now we don’t have to worry about that happening. Now I’ll always have my favorites of Grandma’s recipes within arm’s reach in my kitchen and recreate them whenever I want to at home.
What handmade gifts did you give this year for Christmas?