Monday, November 19, 2012

10 Ways to Keep the Holidays Homemade

Suddenly the holidays are only a few weeks away and it's time to scramble to get the celebrations and gifts ready.   Despite the commercial aspect of holidays, there are so many ways to support homemade at this time of year, and while a little planning makes it easier, it is never to late to start.  Here are 10 ideas for keeping the holidays simple and homemade, so grab your apron and find your scissors, it's time to get your craft on.

1.  Start early, plan a few homemade gifts and make a lot of them

The earlier you start with your homemade gifts, the less stress you'll feel when the crunch of the holidays is upon us.  By choosing only several homemade gifts, and making a bunch of them, you'll save yourself time and resources. These gifts can be used for stocking stuffers, co-workers, teacher gifts, or party favors.  Here are a few of my favorite ideas for this holiday.

Make a batch of felted soap
Make ready made muffin mix (or other baking mix)

2.  Make your own garlands, wreathes and decorations

At the holiday times, the stores are full of greens and decorations for your home.  This year make your own centerpieces and wreathes, and decorate your home with simple seasonal items you make at home.

Make your own holiday wreath
 Use potted poinsettias to decorate around the home

3.  Choose the people who appreciate homemade gifts the most and spend your time on those gifts

Sometimes there are people on your list who simply don't want and will not use homemade gifts.  Don't make homemade gifts for these people, it isn't worth it.  Spend your time making gifts for people who appreciate them.  Also spend some time choosing gifts that you know they will like.  Don't give homemade muffin mix to someone who hates to bake.

4.  Forget the processed foods and make your own eggnog and other treats

The holidays are a wonderful time for baking and making homemade foods. Cookies, eggnog, ginger bread, chocolates, and all the other treats are some of the things we remember from our own childhoods.  Creating special things in the kitchen is a wonderful way to build traditions that your family will remember year after year.

Make this Peppermint Bark
Try this homemade eggnog
Check out these crazy gingerbread house designs

5.  Send homemade holiday cards

For those who send holiday cards, make your own or create your own digital ones.  You can easily get the supplies you need at your local craft store, and if your season is too packed already, send out New Years cards instead!

Look at some of these digital cards

6.  Choose homemade gifts for your wish list

Choose gifts that you want that are homemade, or ask for crafting supplies to get going on next years gifts (if only I was that organized!) Choose items that you can't make yourself, but someone you know can.  A few unique gifts I've seen out there

These coasters are beautiful (I like the idea of an ornament like this too)
Check out Etsy gift ideas
I love these garden dibbles

7.  If you are running short on time, keep it simple and purchase handmade gifts from Etsy or local fairs

 I love Etsy.  In fact I'm slightly addicted to Etsy -did you know you can sort for items by color!!  When you buy something handmade, you are bringing joy to both the person making it and the person receiving your gift, it's a win win.  You can easily do your own searches on Etsy for your favorite gifts and look nearby for people who are selling right in your community!

8.  Make your own stockings, tree skirts, gift bags and other items you use every year

 If you want to make some holiday items that will be used year after year choose fabric and knit goods that will become part of the tradition of the holidays.

Make this quilted tree skirt
Use this free pattern to make a knit stocking
This is a gorgeous pattern for simple gift bags

9.  Plan a holiday meal or party that includes only food and decor that is homemade

Throw a party or plan a meal where the theme is homemade and ask people to bring food or a gift they made by themselves.Cookie exchanges are a great way to do this.  When you sit down to a meal prepared from scratch or exchange only homemade gifts, you creating a celebration you will remember for years.

10. Choose holiday activities that are simple, free, and bring joy.

Instead of spending your holidays at the mall standing in line, find activities that celebrate the joy of the season: go caroling, check out the lights,visit with friends, get outside, and keep the holidays simple.  If making homemade gifts is stressing you out, find ways to simplify and give the gift of time with your loved ones instead of store bought (or even homemade) items, because truly, that is what it is all about!

Enjoy the holiday season, and if you make something special this season, share your photos in the Made by Hand Corner here on the Backyard Farming Connection!


  1. What at great list! We are doing a $10 Christmas Challenge here, so almost everything will be handmade. I love that you included Etsy though! Just because your life is hectic doesn't mean you have to run to Walmart for your Christmas shopping!

  2. Great post and great tips, I wish more people would keep the holidays homemade! There is also another site that features all farm made items which is similar to ETSY,called FarmMade,

  3. Great ideas! I love the wooden Santa. So cute!

  4. I've had this post open for two days and just now had time to comment.. but thank you! We are doing all homemade gifts this year but I've felt slightly overwhelmed.. the first few tips really helped!

    God bless!

    The Story of a Young Family's Pursuit to a Life of Simplicity & Contentment

  5. Thanks so much for the helpful info! Im hoping to give away as many homemade gifts as I can this year! I appreciate the tips. Looking forward to following your blog! Namaste!

  6. Terrific list and wonderful ideas and links. Thank you for the suggestions and the reminder that homemade, handmade and local are usually the most thoughtful, too!