charms various Yesterday was the last day of Question Week for the HGP. It was also the last day of Clean the Living Room Week, and I finished dusting and sorting and so forth. We were supposed to put a meal in the freezer, which I did not do, but I did put a container of Danish Almond Sheet cookies into said freezer.

But we were also supposed to decide on the holiday gifts we intended to make, and this week we are to buy the materials to make said gifts, and/or package them up in ziplock bags so that we can easily grab the gift for Grandpa and work on it.

I still haven’t made up my mind.

Since I don’t intend to buy anything but food and toilet paper till #1 son graduates, I will plan to make things from the materials I already have on hand. Fortunately, I have quite a bit on hand in the way of materials, so that is not an unrealistic or even a mingy plan. Unfortunately, I still haven’t come up with anything thrilling to make.

Over the years, I have made charms, hats, table runners, hot tree5 water bottles with wooly sweaters, soaps and spa products, Christmas tree ornaments, cookies, candies, soup kits, movie baskets, scarves, slippers, bath sets, quilts, toys, firestarters, moccasins, clothes, and tote bags. I have made things with sewing, quilting, embroidery, polymer clay, beading, decoupage, and woodwork. Probably more, too, that have escaped my mind for the moment. I have made most of my Christmas gifts for the past twenty or thirty years.

And yet I cannot seem to come up with an interesting idea this year.

So I am hoping that my fellow craftspeople will come to my aid.

Even if you don’t follow the HGP and aren’t ready to think about holiday gifts, do you have thoughts on the subject? Are there things that you have made in the past that people loved? Do you have opinions? Do you scorn to give handmade gifts to non-crafters, on the theory that they don’t appreciate these splendid things, or do you see it as part of your mission to spread the love of handknitted socks far and wide?

textures Here, I’ll start.

I prefer to give handmade gifts, except for children. Your kids actually need and want things and do not have the income to buy them, and will not feel humiliated if you buy the things for them. For everyone else, it actually is the thought that counts. So I will try either to buy them something they would not have thought of for themselves and yet would love, or to make them something, since that shows, whether they want it or not, that I thought of them and made an effort for them.

I have never given anyone a pair of handknitted socks. I don’t think that people who do not knit will feel that they are a gift, even if they are wonderful. If I had a sudden desire to give someone handknitted socks, I would change the plan to slippers, because slippers are recognized as a gift, while socks are only mentioned as gifts in jokes.

I also don’t give people baking mixes, like those pretty cookie mixes layered in jars, because I figure they would rather not have to bake the stuff themselves. Otherwise, you know, they would.

And I don’t give people coupons for future services or whatever,

omiyage daffodil

because I think that people never really feel comfortable redeeming them. “You know how you gave me a coupon for babysitting? Well, Friday would be good,” they don’t say. If they were going to be comfortable asking you, they wouldn’t wait around for a coupon, any more than people who want to bake would wait around for a decorative jar of cookie mix.

I have heard that there are people who think that handmade gifts are “cheap” and Scrooge-like. These people a) have not been shopping and seen how cheaply ready-made goods can be had nowadays, b) don’t deserve handmade gifts anyway, and c) haven’t actually read Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.

old fuzzy foot I have a plan for what to buy my two remaining minor children, in case my new business brings me such wealth that I am able to buy things in spite of tuition and car repairs, but otherwise I plan to make things for all my gift-ees.

So please share your thoughts and experiences.

Yesterday, after the fire, I did some housework and some errands and some tasks for my new business.

I also spent some time enjoying the rain, hanging out with my family, reading and working on the quilted table runner I began way back in the spring.

two scarves I have that, a bed-size quilt, Ivy (poor thing — not sure what I’ll do about her), Erin (ditto), the Doctor’s Bag, and my fall/winter SWAP in the WIPs pile.

It is conceivable that this is hampering me in my quest for good Christmas gifts to make this year. Maybe my subconscious looks at the pretty stuff in my craft books and says to my conscious mind, “Don’t let her start anything else, for heaven’s sake.”

Whereupon my conscious mind produces thoughts like, “Oh, she wouldn’t want that… He probably already has one of those… Mine wouldn’t look that good…”

I told #2 daughter that this might be the year that everyone gets scarves, and she was actually pretty enthusiastic.

What do you think? Seen any good crafty present ideas lately?