We all like to get Christmas presents and presents in general. Don’t we? They make us feel good and valuable. But only, when we get what we wanted or when the gift was thought through. I wanna talk about the latter. Forget all about the crappy stuff you see at the shopping mall and think about what that special person really likes. Try to imagine their daily life and see what’s missing. That’s the point!
Okay. Let’s begin. This time we decided to make Christmas gifts ourselves (not only because we hate consumerism, but it also makes them more precious). I love Christmas, there is nothing wrong about it, but I can’t stand how people start running through the shopping malls searching for presents for everybody so desperately. So firstly, truly decide who are your valuable friends (and family) and that you haven’t decided to make them presents only because you have to.
True Friends Come First
I always make a list of people that I am going to make gifts for. It helps you to organise things a bit better and to get the number of gifs you need. My list was of 8 people this year. Yeah, and that includes my family too. Don’t be so surprised. I don’t feel that I have to give present to a work colleague I once laughed with or some old friends I barely talk to, not old by age, but just someone I know for a very long time. And you don’t have to! To say the truth you don’t have to do anything for anyone.
Make a rule. Write down the names of people you care so much about you think about them every day. Once a week, once a month. No one has to be on you list just because it’s nice or kind to give them presents, because it’s almost became today’s norm… If you haven’t thought about that person during the past 3 months, why should you make a special effort during Christmas?
That doesn’t include charity of course. Even if you don’t think about their matter on you daily basis, but you do feel you share the same idea and you want to invest your time and money to help that organisation it’s about time to do so.
For example our friends have a farm sanctuary that we donate to monthly, but before every Christmas they make a list of things animals need and people who can’t afford to send money every month can contribute to them in this way.
Upcycled Wrapping Materials
Upcycled wrapping materials are good for the planet. Bla, bla…okay, but what if I don’t care about this thing? It’s fun. It truly is!
I had so much fun making my own wrapping paper, like I didn’t have in years. I felt like I am a small kid again. And it’s good to feel as a kid, you know. They have no rules, no secret intentions and just truly deep feelings.
My own wrapping paper was just a plane brown paper we used to cover the floors while we painted our studio. I used it for two reasons: it’s made from recycled materials and I would create more trash if I get a new one. Happy planet = happy Eisvė.
To make it more interesting I used black ink and a potato (yes, simple potato) to make stamped wrapping paper. I could have used wood to make a stamp if I wanted to, but I found potato as a softer material to carve the shape I liked. And I remembered we used it in my primary school years to make stamps too! What can be more nostalgic than that? No, I am kidding. I am just saying it that I wouldn’t feel stupid for using a potato, but that is the easiest option I tell you.
So, you have to slice your potato in half and carve your desired shape. It’s still hard and I can’t image myself dealing with wood or any harder material. I managed to make a small Christmas tree and I was super happy about it.
Then I covered it with ink and stamped, and stamped, and stamped…To make this beautifully looking paper ↓↓↓
To wrap our gifts (we made the same presents with Justinas it was a bit less fuss this way) we used recycled paper string. Which looks gorgeous and simple!
I also made a personal hand written tags for everyone. Again, my creative childhood stepped in. I used to draw these small animals when I was little every time I wrote a happy birthday wish or a letter. And I knew my family would like it.
Super Personal Christmas Gifts
Last, but the most important part. You know that person really well otherwise you wouldn’t be making him or her a gift, right? If not, go back and read the first part again ;))
My family loves our homemade granola very much. We knew it would make them happy, because they neither have time, nor energy to make it. You ease their lives and they get a healthy granola jar. They can eat nutritious, delicious food before they rush to work.
You get my point? You find a spot that is missing and fill it with what you have to offer. We also added homemade gingerbread cookies and peanut butter. Everyone loves that! We put it into small glass jars we had before. We also painted it with chalkboard paint. Not only we could write what it is, but also a person who got the present could re-use it and write jam’s type and date (or other info) with chalk on it.
I also decided to try something unusual and put it into presents. So we made candied orange peels. I saw them on Pinterest and it looked gorgeous. It turned out pretty well. If you like to try it, you can find the recipe here.
We also made a gift that we are the most proud of. We had a garden at our friends piece of land last summer and we grew some veggies. So we dehydrated our own kale and made smoothie powder for them (and us of course ;p). We think it’s the best thing you can give – wellness and vitamins!
All words by Eisve Treciakauskaite and all images by Justinas Lekavicius, unless otherwise noted.