Homemade garden gift tradition
When you are a family of six, the holidays and everyone buying gifts for everyone can be a little much. When our kids were school-age, we started a new holiday tradition to cut down the amount of shopping (and money mom and dad were shelling out on sibling gifts). On the first day of December, we put our names in a hot cocoa mug and draw names for gifts. But…the catch is that the gift has to be something you make. You can purchase items to help you make the final product, like wood, yarn, accessories, or paper, but the real present comes from using your talents to create something with your own two hands and imagination.
Over the years, these surprises have taken some very creative turns, like when my son used his older sibling’s music recording equipment and recorded himself reading ten of his youngest sister’s favorite picture books. He burned it onto a CD, and voila…homemade audiobook for bedtime. Our middle daughter has taken her crochet skills to a new level when creating bookmarks in the likenesses of our two cats or a hat with matching mittens. To be honest, these are the gifts we are the most excited to open on Christmas morning. The level of secrecy and excitement all month while we’re working on them is top-level and really adds to the drama.
Last year, I won the jackpot of Christmas presents.
My husband is the woodworker in the family. He’s built our dining room table (with my help), a platform bed (without my help), garden beds, a puzzle tray for my mom that she gets complimented on all the time, and the list goes on and on. When he drew my name last year, I was sure my present would be pretty sweet. And boy, was I right!
The garden produce basket of my dreams
I unwrapped the most charming garden produce basket I have ever laid my eyeballs on! The frame was wood, but the bottom and sides were sturdy wire mesh, so you could bring it inside and rinse lettuce, carrots, beans, or whatever you were harvesting at that particular moment. Though it was snowing outside, my brain immediately went to a sunshiney summer place, where I was strolling through my garden, plucking cucumbers from the vine, and placing them all adorably into my new basket, like Ma Ingalls would have done if Charles had thought to build her a produce basket.
I can also carry my gardening gloves and tools in that basket if I want to. I could fill it with extra peppers and carry them over to my neighbors to share before my honey noticed. I could even leave that produce basket in the sink filled with green beans for my kids to wash and snap for dinner. The possibilities are endless.
The basket was a hit with my family and friends, and my mom requested one immediately for her birthday. If my honey ever wants to leave his day job, he definitely has a future in produce basket making.
Jamie adores the holidays, but her least favorite Christmas swap was the year they added in the pets, and her daughter decided to bake homemade tuna treats in the oven for the cat. That was not a good Christmas smell.