“Why buy something for $7 when you can get all the materials from a craft store for $92 and make it yourself?”
Ah, yes. I love the idea of making things for Christmas. I have time! The receiver will luuuurve it!
I’ve nearly always made my own wrapping since I was a teenager. I’ve spray-painted, I’ve potato stamped, I’ve done it all. There was even a time I forced my Mum to drive me out to the middle of nowhere to pick up a stack of chinese takeaway boxes for use as gift boxes and the other time I custom wrapped matchboxes with ribbons as envelopes for Christmas messages. That’s what normal sixteen year olds do, right? It’s no wonder I’ve grown into a stationery-obsessed, ribbon-addicted weirdo…
But, despite my penchant for silky bows and pretty paper, I am lazy. Not keen on attempting something I probably cannot manage or master. Not keen on crafts too complicated or time consuming. I want results and I want them fast. That knitted nativity set? An itty bitty iced gingerbread house that sit on the rim of your teacup? Pffff. Not never ever going to happen. In case you too are similarly inclined I thought I’d share my list of very lazy crafty-christmas efforts. And if crafting isn’t your deal then believe me when I say – no judgement at all from me. Pour me a gin, I’ll be with you shortly.
Book Advent Calendar
Materials: Books (your own, borrowed, second-hand or library), wrapping paper, goodies to pop inside
For the second year in a row I am doing a Book advent calendar for the kids. I have collected several Christmas-themed books for it, but mainly I request Christmas-themed picture books from my local library. The goodies I include are: chocolate covered pretzels, marshmallow sticks, candy canes, carob bears etc. You could also use stickers or art supplies etc. If the goodies are unwrapped I wrap them using a twist of baking paper. Then I write or stamp the dates : 1 to 25 – as well as one of my kids initials on the paper. The books are unwrapped, the treats devoured and somewhere in there we do some reading. Before arguing about whose turn it is tomorrow.
Materials: Beets, white vinegar, sugar, peppercorns, bay leaves, cloves, mustard seeds, cinnamon stick, salt, jars and lids.
Here’s the truth: Matt grew a lot of beetroot. We have two vegetable gardens, one mine, one his, and we compete to see whose is the most productive and impressive. Matt won on the beetroot front (insert poor loser face here) so we were left with a ton of it to do something with. A long time ago, when B1 was just a tiny babe, we went to a canning workshop on Saltspring island and on a whim bought jars, lids and accessories we never used. Five years on, I suddenly remembered them AND the fact that my Dad is mad about pickled anything. Voila. I may give my family food poisoning from inadequate sterilization but… don’t they look sweet?
Hand-painted gift wrap
Materials: Plain paper, paint, small children.
Lay your paper out on the table or deck. Arm your small children with paints and brushes. Set them to work. Results may vary. Generally a big hit with grandparents.
Pom-pom garland or gift tags
Materials: Wool, cardboard, scissors
It’s been a number of years since I made pom poms. I will admit that they do take longer than you think and they are a bit fiddly. But, they are gorgeous, nostalgic and tactile and you can make them while you binge-watch Narcos on Netflix. So, that’s a win.
Materials: candy canes or peppermint sweets, white and dark chocolate, cream, peppermint essence / extract, baking paper, jars / boxes
Peppermint bark is my Chrissy go-to. I’ve gifted it to family, friends, neighbours and kids’ teachers. I once paid a tradesperson with it (okay, accompanied by a six-pack of beer). I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like it and it’s no-bake and low fuss. Because of the crushing and setting and HUGE quantities I now have to make, it can take some time. However, if I skipped a year I think I might be lynched. And, as a bonus, I eat all the off-cuts while making it.
It really is true – christmas crafting can be fun! Or it can be a headache. My advice is: make only what you love to make, don’t compare yourself or your efforts to others, laugh if it all goes wrong and get your young people involved. It’s kind of like child-labour but totally socially acceptable. You can even Instagram it.
Love and Christmas cheer, Hannah x