Ok, now that it is officially November, I feel like I can blog more about Thanksgiving and Christmas! Previously I had eluded to the fact that (as long as we can manage it) we plan to make Christmas a mostly homemade affair for our children. I don't really remember how or why we ended up making that decision. Frugality definitely has something to do with it, but I think more of it is trying to avoid the commercialism that has become Christmas and get back to what is most important: an exchange of love, not stuff. I would like to see our children grow up to be fiscally responsible, to value relationships over things, to appreciate the thought and effort behind a gift and not how much it cost, etc. Can you accomplish all of these things while having a store-bought Christmas? Absolutely. In fact, our child(ren) receive plenty of store-bought gifts from our extended families. This may actually be another part of the reason we started doing homemade gifts.
With Jessica being the first grandchild, first neice, first great-grandchild, and first great-great-grandchild, she has many aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc excited about getting her something cool for Christmas, which is wonderful! However, as a parent on a budget, how do you make Santa Claus exciting when gifts from extended family are already pretty darn exciting? You give your love and your time, two things you cannot put a price on. It also makes our Christmas at home pretty unique and special, so it is not like we do the same thing about 5 different times throughout the holidays!
Last year, we made Jessica a wooden shapes puzzle and a bag of wooden blocks. We also took one of my old purses and filled it with our old wallets, watches, fake credit cards, bracelets, lotion bottles, etc. (She has really enjoyed that!) We also bought her some books from an outlet and her first pair of shoes. Her stocking was filled with apples and socks. The only thing that really cost us anything was the shoes. Obviously, the shoes, socks, and books were not homemade. I tend to make an exception for books and needed items (like shoes or socks).
This year, David made Jessica a play kitchen. He still has one or two things to do before I can start painting it. I also plan to make more felt food to go in her kitchen. She will also get a small stack of books, and her stocking will be filled with fruit, candy, a new piece for her Fisher Price Little People House, and maybe some more socks. I have been hopeful about finishing a new set of pajamas for her by Christmas Eve, but I am not sure that will materialize. We probably spent a little more this year, but she is also old enough to enjoy it a little more!
That is pretty much what Christmas looks like at our house, although David and I do not make things for each other. It takes enough time to make stuff for our child(ren), and there are usually some things that we would like that we enjoy doing together. Last year we each got some woodworking tools. This year we are getting the Star Trek Original Series on dvd. We both grew up watching Star Trek with our dads and now enjoy watching it together. We should have a little more down time this year as I slow down the later part of this pregnancy and while I recover from labor and delivery (and do a lot of breastfeeding)!