I have very fond memories of my great-grandma. My grandma – her name was Florence … there are not enough Florences in this world – she was tiny, but I swear that her smile was as warm as the sun and that she had enough love in her heart to care for an entire platoon of people. Those of us who got to know her and were loved by her were truly lucky. One thing that I am exceedingly proud of and still remember about 15 years after her death was that she had a “scherenschnitte” wall hanging in her kitchen that I had created when I was probably 11 or 12 years old. My pre-teenage self was pretty stoked that my great-grandma thought my work was cool enough to place in a prominent room in her house.
“Scherenschnitte” (pronounced “sharon-schnitta” at least that’s how I say it) is German for paper-cutting and my mom taught me one pattern that I cut over and over that year … once for the County Fair and a couple for my great-grandmas. Let me be clear – I wasn’t good at scherenschnitte and God bless my mom for the patience that she showed when it came to teaching my whiny self how to painstakingly cut out bears holding hearts, mounting it on patterned paper and displaying the finished product in picture frames that we wrapped and gave to our loved ones.
Looking back at some of the gifts that I gave when I was a kid, I see that my mom paved the way for some of the things that I enjoy to do during the holidays. I love baking (much to the detriment of my waistline) and I love trying my hand at homemade gifts to give to my friends. Because its easy to spend money, but let’s face it – most of my friends are in the same boat that I’m in. If we “want” something, chances are we’ve acquired it. All of us are fortuntate not to have any “needs” that haven’t been addressed, but everyone I know can stand to know how much I love them and if it’s through baking cookies or *shudder* hauling out my mini scissors – I think I’m up to the challenge.
I have a laundry list of cookies and candies that I want to attempt – those will be going to my cohorts at my full-time job and the cab company, as well as my husband’s coworkers. However my main gift to my age-appropriate friends will be bottles of apple pie. It’s an alcoholic drink that combines apple juice, apple cider, cinnamon sticks and Everclear. It is potent and it is amazingly tasty. I’ve been having a good time whipping up batches of it and dreaming up frugal ways that I can bottle it, other than using my old wine bottles.
Sometimes there’s a stigma that comes with homemade gifts – do they look cheap, would buying something be more classy – but the best thing about the Internet and that crazy Martha Stewart is that there are plenty of instructions to help novices and experts make awesome and thoughtful gifts.
Looking to make some awesome gifts on the cheap? Here’s an article from Real Simple that also includes some homemade gift ideas for this Christmas.
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