This year my brothers and sisters and I decided we are going to do something different for next years gift giving. Instead of going out and buying gifts, something that I did not do this year anyway, we are picking a theme and the gifts will all be related to that theme. The big gathering is going to be at sister's house in San Diego. The theme? Food.
This is easy for me. I'm going to give everyone home canned food, some sort of perennial - probably asparagus crowns, and photocopied pages of some of my favorite recipes.
This year most of the gifts I gave were home made. I did buy my mother a book that I know she'll read, which was found at the dollar store. Otherwise it was home made all the way. This doesn't mean that gift giving was free. Not at all but I was able to take advantage of sales during the year.
I made decorated holiday themed handtowels and kitchen towels. These were made using a $3.00 hand towel, a little fabric, and some iron on interfacing.
I made fleece pajama pants for all the grand kids. Son said he wants some! Oldest daughter's four kids spent the night last night. It was hard to get the kids out of their pajamas today. In fact, grand daughter got dressed then changed her mind and put her John Deere pj pants back on! I let the boys, ages 14-17, pick their fabric from what I had on hand here at home. One picked a brown leaf camo pattern, one picked a green leaf camo pattern, and one picked black. They looked so comfortable that I decided to make a pair for myself!
Two nieces were very excited about their gifts. The oldest is a freshman in college so she got a blanket with her school colors. The younger one got peace sign pj pants. Their mom lamented that she wished she could sew and make things like this. I told her that the pj pants take about 30 minutes from start to finish. There are only a couple of seams and it's really hard to mess them up. It's a perfect beginner sewing project. I think that's going to be a gift to her this year - spending time teaching her how to sew.
Sewing is easy to do if you use a simple pattern, especially if you have someone walk you through the steps. It can be very expensive though. Home made doesn't necessarily mean inexpensive. Most fabrics are over $10 a yard, so waiting until a sale comes along is important. I've also learned how to take things apart and reuse the fabric. This makes things almost free!