Wednesday, November 17, 2010
A Homemade Yule - Part One
Just like most people in this slowly recovering economy, we are broke. BA-roke. With a capital B. Polls done by retailers show that this year, more people want to pay down debt and save money instead of buying more gifts. Article Here.
Enter: The Homemade Yule. Or Christmas. Whatever holiday you observe. Making things by hand has a number of advantages, a few of those being:
1. People are usually impressed that you made something yourself. I'm always surprised by this, because it really isn't hard to make something yourself. Not everything can be bought at a big box store.
2. The person you are giving the gift to will be touched that you put that much time and effort into something just for them.
3. It's inexpensive.
So, this year, I am making most of the presents we are giving to people. You have to start early, because it takes a while! I made a scarf (see picture) for my friend's newborn son. It's tiny, so it won't overwhelm. It is also big enough to fit my one year old, so they can use it next winter as well. The best gifts are the ones that can keep being used. And I love to crochet.
SD cards. So I have no pictures of the process.
I'm also going to be giving things that I bake myself. Muffins, cookies. My peanut brittle. I will have to buy a couple of things, like for my brother who is 15. What do you make for 15 year old that they'll want?! Part of the reason we are doing this is selfish, I'll admit it. We want to save what money we do have for gifts to spend on Brianna. Like she needs more toys. It's her first Yule where she will be aware of it though, and she did such a good job ripping open the gifts at her birthday!!!
Beyond the frugality, however, there is really a deeper meaning behind a homemade Yule. Certainly our ancestors never had Toy's R Us or Walmart to go to for shopping. Our ancestors gave of their time and skills, and of things they made themselves. We live in such a way that not many people have the skills to do this, and those that do STILL buy gifts because it's "expected". I'm guilty of this as well. How excited our ancestors would have been to see something store bought! If you've ever read the Little House books, you know what I'm talking about. How excited Laura and her sister are to get a couple of sticks of candy, a little cake their mother made, and a single penny.
A great gift idea would be to buy some wick and a sheet of beeswax from your local craft store. Make a candle for someone on your Yule list! Not only would it be inexpensive and you would make it yourself, but it would really symbolize the holiday. Clothes are a traditional gift for Yule in Iceland. You could make a set of divination tools for someone, or maybe some bath salts like these found at about.com to use in a bath before a Ritual. You could make incense, as on this website from mother and daughter witches, Cassandra and Miranda.
Next week, I'll post about homemade Yule decorations. There is no reason that a homemade Yule should be limited to gift giving!
Update: Here is a link to A Homemade Yule - Part Two