My mother is notoriously the most creative and thoughtful gift-giver in the world. Although we’re miles apart, she wanted my sisters and I to have a memorable Christmas with all homemade gifts, so she decided to do a 12 Days of Christmas gifts exchange this year. Each day for 12 days, we opened one gift that was made by our mom and read a note explaining the meaning behind the gift. Of course, I opened mine early so I could blog about them before Christmas.
If you’re a true procrastinator and are looking for last-minute Christmas gift ideas, maybe these will give you inspiration. For me, my mom inspires me to remember the value of family traditions and memories that will last a lifetime. Not only did she hand make 12 gifts for my sisters and I, but she put so much thought and effort into making each one special. Here are all 12 gifts along with their descriptions. These alone helped me find my Christmas spirit, maybe they’ll help you too. 🙂
Day 1 – This gift is an ornament that we have not yet gotten, but I have no doubt it will be amazing. This year, our family decided to do a huge secret santa ornament exchange in which everyone made an ornament for whoever they drew. Since I have yet to gift mine, mum is the word.
Day 2 – Nobody loves wine more than my sisters and I, so Day 2 was a wine tote made from an old pair of my jeans. The wine charms are made from an old Scrabble set we used to have when we were little. When she opened the box, she saw an old game card when we had played. The wine topper also has a photo of my sisters, brother and I.
Day 3 – A Grinchy package. The “Grinch” soap is from a handmade soap shop near our home town in Oregon, Illinois, along with a face wash cloth she knitted. The “Grinch Pills” are Altoids with a letter saying that if we can’t find our Christmas spirit, pop in a pill and watch the DVD. 🙂
Day 4 – An address book and thank you notes. My mom taught us to always, always write thank you notes. To make it easier, she wrote our family members’ addresses in the book.
Day 5 – Friendship tea. The tea mix is a recipe my mom’s grandmother used to make for her. The knob on the jar was from Etsy, and the design is called rosemaling. Rosemaling is a style of decorative painting in Norway, and Grandma Bessamore’s house was full of it. Attached to the tea was history about my family’s Norwegian roots.
Day 6 – A book. My mom read numerous books to find the perfect one to gift to us. She also made a bookmark to go with the great story.
Day 7 – Potholders. When we were little girls, my sister and I used to make these potholders and give them to our Grandma Sue. It was an inexpensive gift that we could make, and we loved them! Opening this gift brought back great memories, and although I remember making them, I didn’t previously own any.
Day 8 – A calendar. Each month of the calendar has a collage of photos of each one of the families on my mom’s side. She had the calendar made at Walmart and printed each family member’s birthday.
Day 9 – A mistle “toe” present. Along with nail polish and tools, this gift included sock monkey slippers. A Swedish immigrant to the U.S. patented the sock-making machine and began manufacturing socks used to make sock monkeys in Rockford, IL. Since our family is Swedish and from Rockford, these slippers were the perfect personal gift. The attached card included the history of the sock monkey.
Day 10 – A snowman tin, cookie cutters, and an attached note with the history of Frosty the Snowman.
Day 11 – The Pioneer Woman’s new holiday cookbook. My whole family loves to cook, and this is the third PW cookbook I own, all gifted by my mother. 🙂
Day 12 – My favorite gift of all. Each of our gifts were something old that she chose just for us. This cookbook was one that my mom got when my great Grandma Clara passed away. She had given it to my grandma Gloria for Christmas in 1973, and it was made by women in her church.
When my mom opened this cookbook, she saw that I had written (barely legibly) on the inside cover. She took that as a sign that it was meant to be mine. She wrote down the pages where Clara Winterton had submitted recipes, along with the other important women who were featured in the book.
The nurse who delivered me in the hospital and one of my Grandma Gloria’s best friends had recipes in the book as well. Although it’s very old and worn, this is a gift that I will treasure forever.
All in all, although these gifts probably took my mom a great amount of time, they were the perfect reminder that a meaningful, homemade gift is far better than any other materialistic gift. Having a homemade Christmas is one of the best ways to remind everyone the true meaning of the holidays. I feel truly blessed to have such a big, amazing family and a childhood full of memories I want to keep forever.