I always tend to go a bit wild with my Christmas making and do-ing… making my own cards, wrapping things ‘innovatively’ (‘weirdly’), crafting elaborate things with pastry for no reason whatsoever. I suspect this is because I have no kids to slowly but surely drain me of the will to live around this time.
This was going to be a post about thrifty christmassing (yes, me and every magazine/channel 4 tv show) and then I paused for a moment and realised how deeply annoying all this ‘thrifting’ is:
1. These handy tips invariably involve spending more money than I would ever dream of. (“Gold-leaf a photo frame for a thrifty home-made present!”)
2. They’re judgmental. (“If you can’t afford Christmas, then toil night and day to disguise the fact”).
Approaching Christmas from a secular (but hopelessly sentimental) point of view, I think it’s fair to make this time of year about letting everyone off the hook. If you’re exhausted and you can afford to go out and buy everything you need, go for it. Get some extra sleep instead of hand-crafting knitted gift tags. Don’t dare break out the sewing kit – that way lies madness.
If you want to eat roast turkey flavoured crisps for Christmas dinner followed by a Caramac bar, then you do that.
Many years ago I was given a book by my grandmother called Linnea’s Almanac, a Scandinavian children’s book which goes through a year with ideas for each season: windowsill gardens, pressing flowers, making kites and flower garlands and generally just being a top notch kind of kid. Linnea’s ‘December’ is very modest:-
She makes Swedish heart baskets out of red and white paper, and a plaster-of-Paris shell collage and a picture fitted inside a sardine can as presents for her friends. So cute.
I tried to emulate some of her wise ways today, and stayed indoors and made the most of my mum’s sewing expertise and, indeed, her brand new sewing machine.
A day like this:
Requires cinnamon lattes (which we made ourselves, because Starbucks ain’t paying no tax. Also, real reason – because we live miles away from any coffee shops, as may be obvious from the photo above).
Once I was set up with coffee, it was time to make some Christmas stockings. I’ve decided, and quite possibly I may have nicked this idea from my sister-in-law who gave everyone beautifully crafted stockings last year, that I would make these myself. I am the lone bad crafter and frankly disastrous sew-er (seamstress?) in a family of very proficient, talented women. Conversation with my mum as I hatched this plan:
“I’m going to make Christmas stocking for everyone, but it looks IMPOSSIBLE”.
“You just need to cut out the shape, sew it together and turn it inside out”.
“Oh right. [Pause]. Can you help?”
She did indeed help me. Here’s a little tour in pictures of what happened next:
And yes, that’s a Caledonian MacBrayne ruler. Relic of an Outer Hebrides childhood.
Once they were securely sewn and all the right shape, I broke out the glittery/shiny/embroidered ribbon (the moment I’d been waiting for). I hand-sewed these bits and pieces to the top of the stockings, and we also had fun decking each other out in Christmas ribbon bling (the cinnamon lattes had turned our heads):
And there we have it – very simple to make Christmas stockings! To be honest, these took me all day, but that was also because I was listening to Christmas music on the radio and had to stop for a Wham! break whenever Last Christmas came on. I also stopped for Elvis Presley’s Lonely This Christmas, because it’s just the best Christmas song in the world. All in all a wonderful cosy day of crafting – total cost for four stockings, around £8, so not too bad at all. Savings like that mean (in my house) a big bottle of Baileys for Christmas Eve. Cheers!