Saturday, August 25, 2007

How I adapted the "Christmas in a Can" idea

As I mentioned yesterday, I was really taken with this idea of packing a clean, unused paint can with all manner of Christmasy objects as a family gift. But I knew my own adaptation of it would need to involve a box or a large sack rather than a measly gallon can!

I really wanted to give my kids and grandkids some things that I had made, things they could bring out every Christmas season even after I’m gone, and say, “Mom (or Grammy) made these special things.” I also wanted to give these things to them near the end of November, so they could bring them out at the beginning of the Christmas season. I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now, and it has all blurred together in my mind which things I gave them in which years. But here are some of the things I’ve done:

* Handmade advent calendars


* Gooseberry Patch Christmas books

* Children’s hardcover Christmas books

* Microwave popcorn with handmade Christmas wrappers

* Packets of hot chocolate, with handmade Christmas wrappers

* Holiday teas


* Handmade Christmas fabric table runners
* Handmade ornaments
* Hand-crocheted personalized stockings

* Mr. T’s old work socks, embellished with holiday fabric patches and buttons
* Cross-stitched bread cloths and hand towels with Christmas motifs
* Personalized Christmas address labels (designed and printed by me)

* Cookie cutters

* Christmas paper napkins

... and more!

Maybe others would be interested in adapting my ideas for their own families.

Oh, and ... there are only 4 more months until Christmas!

Friday, August 24, 2007

"Christmas in a Can"

Christmas in a Can

A few years ago I came across this idea on a site I was visiting. I wanted to do this for my married kids and their families. It was several years before I actually got around to doing anything about it, and my results ended up being quite different from the original idea I had found, but thought others might enjoy hearing about this early Christmas gift anyway.

The original idea begins with a clean, unused, gallon paint can. You can cover the outside with Christmas themed kraft paper. You can make a label with clip art and a nice font that reads “Christmas in a Can” and add “Packed with care” or whatever else you like. You can make a similar label, only round, for the top of the can.

Then the can is packed with items to get a family in the Christmas spirit. Suggestions include:
* Microwave popcorn
* Wassail or spiced cider mix
* Hot chocolate mix
* Candy canes
* Cookie cutters
* Cookie mix
* Ornaments
* A short Christmas story or memory, printed in a neat font with clip art, folded in half and rolled up like a scroll.

For the microwave popcorn, you can make holiday wrappers that fold right around the packet of popcorn. Same with individual packets of hot chocolate or spiced cider mix. If using larger amounts of hot chocolate or a dry wassail mix, it was suggested to package 1 to 2 cups of these in the holiday printed plastic bags you can buy and staple a card stock label, with instructions, to the top.

This site also suggested including a gingerbread cookie mix, which is simply a spice cake mix taken out of the box but left in its packet. Then you staple a card stock label to the top, with these instructions:

Mix one medium egg, 2 Tblsp. water, and 1/4 cup soft shortening with cookie mix. Makes a stiff dough. Mix well, chill dough. Roll out on floured surface and cut with cookie cutters. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375ยบ for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool and decorate as desired.

You could probably think of other ideas. When you finish packing the can, place the lid on top and give to the family of your choice.

I thought this was a really neat idea for a family gift! Hopefully tomorrow I can share how I adapted this idea to give to my own married kids and their families. In the meantime, I hope someone else will have fun with this idea.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Less than 5 months....

Yes, there are less than 5 months left until Christmas! I had big plans to do a lot of Christmas crafting in the week just past, having reviewed my lists and having seen just how far behind I actually am in the Christmas crafting department. Very little actually got done toward Christmas, but I am pleased at least that I’ve looked at my lists and do have a grasp of how much I need to accomplish in the next 4 months. I would like to be mostly done by then and be able to just enjoy all the activities of December with a light heart!