Seriously, how many days are there now until Christmas? No, don't tell me! Agh! Usually by this time of year, I have at least half of my Christmas shopping done. In fact, a good part of that I get done the week after Christmas, hitting the sales. Not this year, though. Been too distracted. Also too poor. And, after moving I-don't-know-how-many boxes of toys and other junk I am now convinced are absolutely unnecessary, I am totally unmotivated to add anything to our "collection."
That being said...
Here are some links to some really fun looking home-made items we girls may try to put together in the evenings in the time we have left. That is, after we finish unpacking and hanging up our clothes and canned goods... And put the rest of the beds together... And hang pictures... And make new curtains... Oh! And do our Christmas cards!
OK, simplify, simplify... Easy Stuff... Yeah...
EASY homemade gifts may just be the ticket!
So, I went on a hunt this afternoon, I, who have absolutely nothing better to do, mind you...
And in my wanderings, I found the most interesting site. Run over and take a look at the Instructables for lots of inspiration and very whacky "show and tell" projects. I found a lot of fun stuff there. For instance, my big boys would get a real "bang" out of the homemade marshmallow shooter ! No rubberbands to wound one another with; only mini marshmallows all over the floor... We've seen these in catalogues, but how much more fun to make our own!
Here's an easy pattern for Toasty slippers that look easy to adapt to any size and can be a good use for our worn out blankets.
Using a tube and some old cds, you can make a keen kaleidoscope. I know our Littles would get a kick out of these. I'll just have to make sure they don't come apart easily...
This tutorial for Magnetic paper dolls uses a pretty grotesque example for the dolls, so please don't be put off by it. It does give a good idea of how it can be done, though. I'd be more inclined to print out pictures of my own little girls and make dresses for them.
Though this one's not as easy, I have an empty corner I'd like to make a checkerboard game table to fill.
As I ran across a container of plaster of paris when we were moving, I'd like to make a batch of homemade sidewalk chalk with the children to give to their friends. Looks fun and easy.
For the grandparents, we can easily make these boxes of hugs. But, we'll use this pattern for real paper boxes for the tiny gifts. We could put magnets on the backs of them, too, for refrigerator decor. All grandparents need refrigerator decor.
The very crafty lady at Pretending Sanity has a great lip balm recipe I'd love to try. she's also got some links to places to get supplies, if I don't find what I want at Hobby Lobby. It actually looks like a pretty simple, one afternoon project.
And, while we're at it, we could put together little soap and lotion combos from Teachsoap.com and maybe make little gift baskets for our teenage cousins. (They have a recipe there for Chocolate Lip gloss that we'll have to try!)
Here's a link to seven homemade toys for babies and toddlers that I think we'll get some use from. I like their idea for a really easy homemade book, and I know Yuyum would like the "kerplunk can."
Over at the Dollar Stretcher, there are tons of inexpensive, mostly homemade gift ideas, one of which is homemade stationary. You can find oodles of stationary ideas just by doing a quick Google search. And now that we've moved, we have plenty of use for stationary kits for all the little girls. And they can make them to send to their friends, too!
Dollar Stretcher also has a long list of good baby toy ideas!
If I had money to spare this year, I would shop from the Lehman's catalogue. We've never bought anything from Lehmans that we were not 100% tickled to death with. The Amish really do build with quality and integrity. Alas, this year, the budget won't allow it...
I also love "dream shopping" in places like Treasure Box Toys, and Hearthsong. When we have spent the money on quality toys, we've never regretted it. We've had a deluxe "busy bead" set, for instance, that we've had for about fifteen years which has had constant use and still looks good as new.
Most years, I'll start early on the garage sale circuit looking for quality used toys, as well as checking out all the thrift stores... But this year, I just don't know if I'll emotionally be able to go looking through someone else's cleaned-out-garage-goodies, when I have plenty old goodies still in my own garage! But, I will be on the lookout for books, mainly on E-Bay and Amazon.
We also have started all the older children on collections, which I'll try to add to. I'll have to post on that topic sometime, as it's made gift buying easier for us. Also, I hope to list out our gift buying route for the hard-to-shop-for men in our gang. As I have six sons, four brothers, two grandpas, one nephew and my husband to buy for this is an on-going challenge! I'll get on here soon with some of our first and last resort options. I'll try to do that next Monday...
So, there. This exercise has forced me to organize myself with links to work from! I hope it might have given someone else an idea or two as well! (And another "nice, short, quick post" for me here! Good grief! Someday I'll learn to be concise...)
Head over to MilihiMama who's organized lots more toy links!
And check out Rocks in My Dryer for lots of great tips!