My children decided three weeks out that they wanted to "do Christmas" this year. Being non-religious, we haven't celebrated Christmas is many years. We usually go to a movie and then out for Chinese food. So this year the kids said, "Hey, we want to do Christmas with a tree and a gift from each person and lights. Yeah, we want lights and cookies." So we have lights and a tree and I've been working on gifts. In the future I would truly appreciate a bit more warning the the kids want to "do Christmas" so that I have time to properly knit for everyone.
Having this list has helped and since I am that minimalist at heart (and needing a few suggestions that won't break the bank, be meaningful and useful) here is my list:
1. e-reader books. Don't know how to do that? Then get your favorite book lover a gift card. It's like buying them the book they've been wanting all year. Look on their B&N or Amazon wish lists for ideas.
2. Knit them cup cosies so they don't have to keep using the paper ones at the coffee shop. In fact make them one that will go over their favorite mug at home. There is something fantastic about cuddling a wool enshrouded ceramic mug in the winter.
3. Knit yoga or house socks out of worsted weight yarn on size US7 needles. They are quick and easy and if you do yoga socks, no heels (although that is the favorite part of a sock for me) or toes and you can be fairly generic with the size.
4. Make felt dolls or stuffies (monsters are very popular this year) or sock puppets from left over fabric, felt and dryer widows.
5. Create an indoor herb garden. You don't have to pay a lot of money for the fancy hydroponic specially lit plastic kits. You can make an indoor herb garden with a narrow windowsill planter and some already sprouted herbs from the garden center of your local home improvement stores. If plants aren't available you can make your own hydroponic garden using a reclaimed bowl from the thrift store, some Styrofoam sheeting (that will float on the top of the water), some garden seeds, a reclaimed lamp and a full spectrum light bulb. There are instructions on the Internet for making your own hydroponic indoor gardens.
6. Have a crafter in your life? Buy them the supplies of their craft. Know a quilter? Get some fat quarters (if you don't know what those are just ask at your local fabric store or hobby store that sells fabric). Scrapbooker? How about a die cut machine? (Psst, the Making Memories Slice is on sale for $49 at JoAnn this week. Just saying). Knitter? Yarn. Cook? Interesting ingredients (or for that matter any ingredients. I would not turn down a five pound bag of flour!) Consumables are always appreciated by those of us who create
7. Back to that e-reader thing, make a nook cosy or a Kindle cosy. They can be knit or felt or quilted. We e-reader users love to look like we have different books even when we are holding the same device. Think of it as clothing for our nooks (does that mean if I do the 333 project that I need to get 33 covers for my nook?)
8. A collection of family recipes. Two of my dearest possessions are my dad's pancake recipe and my grandmother's honey whole wheat bread recipe. They are on my refrigerator waiting for the next time I bake. I love them and they are precious because they are familiar. What family recipes are important to your children or relatives? Write them up on some tidy recipe cards or type them up and print them or download them to a CD-ROM.
9. Nice pens and journals. But only if they will be used. I love my journals and am always carrying them with me. I also have a particular pen that I love that aren't easily found so when I do find them I buy several packs of them at a time. And journals don't have to be expensive or large. I like little ones that fit in my purse or knitting bag. They are perfect for jotting notes, making lists, plotting a story, or quickly dashing off a note to a friend to leave on her windshield.
10. Your time. It may sound cheesy, but your time is one of the most valuable things you can offer. Babysitting, laundry folding, knitting or sewing or cooking lessons. Errand running, dog walking, cat box scooping. I love gifting people my time and appreciate when people value their time as a worthy gift as well.