7QT: Christmas Gift Planning

I started my Christmas prep this year with a plan to keep most purchases meaningful, meaning that they would either be the work of our own hands or purchased from a home business or responsible company. That is the ideal but I'm sure we'll be deviating from it often enough. Handcrafted is usually more expensive and our current Christmas budget must be respected. So here's my modified plan... make quality, budget-friendly gifts and win free stuff (meaningful free stuff, of course). Things are coming along very nicely and I will continue to keep you updated about my small victories and discoveries as we get closer to Christmas...

If you would like to find a way to give one gift to several children in one family, I direct your attention to the Fort Kit. I put my first one together and all I have to say is... I love grommets! I love to sew but had absolutely no intention of sewing endless numbers of loops or whatevers onto 3 sets of Walmart sheets. I bought an inexpensive grommet tool and some grommets and had a great time. If any of you have used a snap setter, it's the same principle.

I didn't use all the items recommended in the kit, but we got pretty close. Most items were from Walmart or the dollar store. The only thing left to do is to sew up a bag to keep everything in and iron on something fun, perhaps a last name. Or, if I run out of time, the no-sew version will do just fine.


Shower soothers. Remember these? You drop them in the bottom of your shower and have a lovely steam bath of sinus loving vapors. They were a great blessing to my burdened cold season head. It turns out that SudaCare stopped selling them because some people were eating them. *blink*blink* Now the cheapest box you can find of this discontinued product is about $50.

Anyway, I found a recipe for something similar using menthol crystals and Eucalyptus and made my first batch. I almost burned my eyeballs out making them but the finished product was lovely. My next step is tweaking the recipe (found in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Making Natural Beauty Products)  because they only lasted for 2 minutes in the shower before they fizzed out... which is not even close to long enough. Look out kids! It's menthol day again!

These will be packaged handsomely and given to some of the men on our list. I'm also thinking of adding them to our Etsy shop once I have the recipe right because they are so nice.

Speaking of our Etsy shops (multiple, meaning we can't seem to stop opening more of them), I'll be adding homemade laundry soap soon as well. I really enjoy using it and do not get headaches anymore when I do laundry. Cookie and I packaged a bunch up with scoops in sweet little bags and carted them to a craft show a couple weeks ago. It was an unusual item to sell but I was pleasantly surprised by the high interest. We managed to come home a bit lighter than we arrived.

The funniest moment at the show was when they raffled off our donated items. "And now, from Melody at table number 12, we have some lovely... laundry soap!" I felt badly for the woman who won it. She was probably hoping for the tissue box cover shaped like a turkey. :)

I will be writing a full post about laundry soap and other allergy friendly household stuff in the near future. Hopefully, the shop will be fully set up by that time and I will link it then. It has been quite a while since we've been open since I generally close for new babies and busy times, but Cookie and I are getting the itch to get busy again.

(Incidentally, if I run out of time to buy or make you a Christmas present, you are getting laundry soap. But feel free to inquire about purchasing in the meantime.)

It just occurred to me that the major problem with this post is the off chance that someone I give Christmas gifts to will stop by. I am pretty confident the gentlemen won't be here so I'm safe there... but just in case, I have to keep the best stuff to myself. I'm so sorry. Visit my Pinterest page to make guesses about what I'm making for everyone else.

The kids will be making little gifts again this year. Button has already started hers...

Tutorial at Wild Olive
The others will choose various types of crafts or food that they can make and give on their own.

As I mentioned, I've been trying to win a few contests this year for handmade items to give. I have been unusually successful in this regard so far! My favorite win was from a giveaway hosted by Hallie at MoxieWife who was offering an infinity scarf from Connected in Hope. The beautiful scarf was made by the hands of a woman who is working to support her family... and that is an excellent kind of gift to be able to give.

I also won beautiful handmade soap from a giveaway hosted by Grace on Our Catholic Life of Grace. I am absolutely crazy about handmade soaps of all kinds. Three big reasons: 1) Made by people running small businesses who are working to support their families, 2) Commercial brands and formulas have a very noticeable and negative effect on me and using natural products gives me great relief, 3) handmade soaps also tend to be visually lovely so it is an all around pleasure to give them as gifts.

Since I know the recipient of this soap does not read my blog, I can post it here for your viewing pleasure...

*Warning* A post is coming in the near future in which I will preach at length about the benefits of avoiding most commercially manufactured cleaners, make-up, soaps, and lotions. It will include information about how to make your own products (much cheaper than purchasing), where to buy them if you can't make them, and a lengthy monologue in which I will whine about my desire to make my own cold-processed soap but can't because I don't want to have caustic materials (lye) around the house while the children are still young.

Do not be alarmed. I am still a comfort-loving, dishwasher-using, climate-control kind of girl. I do not love camping and I still shop at Walmart. I have no desire to live off the grid (although I think that would be objectively cool) and I can't grow a garden because I can't figure out how to keep the hoards of suburban deer out of it. But some lifestyle choices just make sense. Now if you excuse me, I have to put on my bonnet so that I can go hug some trees, eat my additive-free lunch, and nurse my 2-year old. :)

Joining Jennifer at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday
Posted on November 9, 2012 and filed under "christmas gifts".