Christmas 2008 was one of the best I've enjoyed with my family in a long time. Everything just came together to make it perfect. I'm really happy because my idea of giving handmade gifts not only didn't backfire, but got an enthusiastic response from everyone.
One of the easiest gifts to make was the infused cranberry vodka. Not only was this really fun, but it got a very good response from the recipients.
Fortunately, I had about a third of a bottle leftover and got to keep some for myself. Let's just say that it blends so well with cranberry juice and lime that a person could perhaps drink a bit too much before realizing how much they had actually drunk. Ahem. Thank goodness I had the sense to finish preparing the brunch for Mr. C's family celebration before hitting the juice.
The other gift from my kitchen whipped up pretty quickly. It was the brown sugar scrub recipe that I found on Deep-Fried Kudzu. I used Ginger's idea for the packaging as well. We have a really neat shop where I got to concoct my own essential oil fragrance. I blended together some chai, some chocolate and a hint of peppermint for a fragrance I named "Chocolate Chai". It smells so delicious that I wanted to gnaw my arm off after I used some of the scrub on my hands.
The little jars were so cute and I couldn't believe my luck when I found these adorable gift bags in the $1 bins at Target that perfectly matched the lids! These went over very well, also.
Then I dusted off my beading supplies and made some angel necklaces for my sister and her daughter, and a pretty pink pearl bracelet for another niece.
And I made ornaments for everyone. The young ones got some candy canes, made from pony beads strung onto a piece of pipe cleaner.
And I discovered a use for the origami cranes I like to make. I decided to add some beads and turn them into "peace crane" ornaments. Everyone really seemed to like theirs.
There have been some suggestions that I make more of these and offer them for sale. I'd love to do that, but it will have to wait until I can cut back on my hours at work.
I also made 4 blanket-sized snuggles for the younger nieces and nephews. They were a very big hit, especially with the teenaged nephew, which was a complete surprise because ...well, he's a teenage boy. He's too cool for school. But not only did he love his snuggle, but was wrapped in it when I went to visit a few days later. I think the older ones were a bit disappointed that they didn't get one, so they may each have to have their own next year.
And finally, these were not technically a Christmas gift. I made them for my Music Mix Swap partner who owns 4 rescued bassets. I had to show you, because they turned out to be so adorable. I wish I could get more of these beads, but I got the last ones.
It was so gratifying to see how happy everyone was with their handmade gifts. I was really surprised by their responses. I still have some promised knitted gifts for my beautiful nieces. One is finished and just needs blocking. One is finished and just needs a trimmed edge and some blocking. I will show pictures when they're ready to go. The other two have yet to be cast on. Let's hope that I get them completed before Christmas of 2009.