Don’t you hate it when people tell you how much time is left to shop for Christmas? I do…but then again, I also kind of love the challenge of finding gifts before Advent begins. Advent is so much more enjoyable when I’ve spent time carefully considering and choosing and purchasing or making gifts before the beautiful season begins. Fifteen weekends until Christmas sounds like more than enough time, but you know that between now and then we have fall events, Thanksgiving, Advent beginning… Ok, just call me nuts.
I have never had a year like that. Some years I have come close, but still my husband and I find ourselves doing the last-minute shopping, remembering someone who should never have slipped our minds (ooops), realizing that we thought we had a gift and then actually don’t… It is frustrating and I hate it! Gifting shouldn’t be stressful. It’s about sharing love for a special person, not about finding the best deal on the latest and greatest and hottest toy on Black Friday and all the other post-Black Friday sales.
Gifts at Christmas should be about the person, the season, something with true meaning. In other words, I hate the noisy, flashy things in all the ads. I love to give things which are handmade (by me or others), add beauty and joy to a person’s life, and possibly–hopefully–reflect the season of joy and Christ’s birth.
Is that too much to ask?
Surely not! Our stores may be filled with less-than-original ideas, but there are incredibly talented artisans among us, simple handmade gifts we can do at home with our families, and great experiences to be shared. Let’s take back the season and fill it once again with gifts that don’t overwhelm, but reflect the joy and love we share.
Spoiler alert: I already started shopping.
Spoiler again: I’m going to give you lots of links and ideas. Enjoy!
Top: Fun tees for Moms and bloggers and more. Ellen describes her tees as “fashionable tees for the stylish woman”. They are so fun, and I’m looking forward to adding one to my wardrobe when my belly shrinks. That Chic Mom Tees shop is a must to check out.
Middle: Genius tees with a faith-based message for dads, uncles, brothers, sisters, moms, friends… Check out Mantled Catholic Clothing for these unique statement tees created by a team of youth ministers.
Bottom: Adorable handmade baby and toddler apparel and accessories by Nell at Whole Parenting Goods Right now she has banners and bonnets. She also makes leggins, blankets…these are really great choices for gifts.
1. For your prayer space: RakStar Designs shop has lovely prints, necklaces, and rosary holders.
2. For the creative person who likes to sew, how about a gift of an Advent table runner and placemat pattern? Faith and Fabric designs some lovely patterns to help beautify your home for the liturgical seasons. Or classes to Craftsy?
3. The handlettered and painted designs from Hatch Prints Shop look lovely framed for a mantle, bedroom, or kitchen. She also has cards, and who doesn’t love sending and receiving some pretty cards?
4. Another beautiful set of handlettered prints are available at MBohnslav Design, and she also does custom work.
5. Faith and Fabric also has an Etsy shop where you can purchase this adorable wooden Nativity.
6. What about a special, custom-designed Rosary? Rosaries by Allison carries several beautiful options, and you can also request custom pieces.
Other ideas, “thinking outside the box” of tradition gifts:
For the Blogger, or Anyone in Digital Design:
Little Flower Studios has beautiful, bright, and fresh stock photos to use for your marketing and design needs
For the foodie:
Herbed salt, to season meats, veggies, use when grilling…
Fruit butter you made yourself
Local food treats sent from your state to theirs
Cooking class from Craftsy
For the coffee drinker:
A special blend, fair trade
Chocolate covered espresso beans
For the outdoorsy:
A book of local hikes
Gift certificate for quality photo printing, to print a favorite personal landscape image
For the minimalist:
Membership to a museum
Gift card for music or e-books
Subscription to Sirius XM radio for the car
For the one with a heart for social issues and those in need:
Donation in their name to Heiffer International, Compassion International, Unbound
The gift of time spent together: coffee shop dates, trips to the zoo, ice skating, planned hikes, camping…you name it, you can do it.