Nov 22, 2011

Getting ready.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It is one of the holidays where families get together to enjoy a good meal and each other's company without the obligation of purchasing a gift.

I want Christmas to be like that. I think I say that now because I can't afford to buy expensive gifts for everyone in my family.

There has always been this part of me that wants to have a homemade Christmas. The kind where you get together early in the morning to prepare to Christmas dinner, hang out for the day drinking coffee, and eventually wine...just soaking in the time together.  Then, once we've had a little time to digest, open homemade presents that have real feeling behind them.  I'm not saying you can't have an emotional response to a new drill, but I just have a feeling opening a box of homemade cookies, bread, or handmade candle might give a slightly more personal, moving response...

I think that's what I want, but if given the opportunity, would I do it?  it's hard when you have kids to get out the door for an entire day.  I know Anya doesn't really sleep/nap well anywhere but in her bed.  Couple that with even if she did sleep, there might be too much noise to stay asleep.

Homemade gifts are harder not only because you essentially have an "amateur" making the gift, it then has to be something the person wants.  It isn't hard to do, but requires to actually KNOW the person.

Do they like chocolate chip cookies, but LOVE chocolate Chip with walnut cookies?

What if they don't bake properly?  What if the Candle turns an undesirable color?  What if?  What if?

That's the issue I'm facing, the "what if" dilemma.  I want to make and give gifts people will LOVE, not just like.  I WANT to know them well enough to make something they will fondly remember, and (not so secretly) hope they receive again next year, or something very similar.


Maybe some year, we'll do that...maybe.


pants said...

What about getting people the "gift" of spending time with you and your family? Like making them a great dinner, or buying a cheaper board game that everyone can enjoy and maybe the winner can take home?

We changed to a draw one person out of a hat and get them a gift in my family a few years ago, but now we basically just get gifts for the nieces and nephews, or make things for each other (my sister made hot chocolate mix last year, we're thinking of making homemade bacon this year, etc.). I agree it's hard, but I have gotten to the point where I feel like if people aren't going to like it, or I don't know what they want, then I'm not going to get them anything specific.

anyway, good luck!

Mark said...

Homemade bacon???

I think part of my issue is that I feel like I don't know them well enough to make something they would love.

pants said...

Yeah, that's tough...I guess that's what I meant about giving the gift of an experience instead of stuff. That way people hopefully enjoy it (I suppose this brings its own "will they like that?" questions, though...) and it's a way to connect with them, too/have a chance to spend time with them. You could say "our gift is to take everyone to the planetarium" or lunch, or the park for a picnic, or a movie or something. I'm sure there are less costly options, but it will lead to actually doing stuff together and making you feel closer (hopefully). Plus those memories last a lot longer than anything you can buy. However, like I said, I've gotten to the point where I just don't bother. If it means we don't get useless or meaningless gifts from them, too, I'm ok with that.

Yes, homemade bacon!!!!!!! There was a recipe in the paper this summer and I decided we had to do it. It's apparently not hard, just get pork belly and cure it in the fridge for 5 days or something with whatever spices (brown sugar, pepper, salt, etc.). I'll let you know how it turns out!!!
I also might make homemade chocolate sauce, as it's easy and D. and I love it!