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With 3 children, son-in-laws, several grandchildren and a hoard of steps there were too many family members to purchase a nice present for all. It came down to gift cards for everyone. We realized the presents the adults liked most were family pictures. So this year, we have banned any gift exchange with only family portrait trades allowed.
Children below 15 years old will get one present. We can now focus on family, sharing a meal and getting back to the real meaning of Christmas. This should save us a minimum of $1000, not to mention feeling like a weight has been lifted from our shoulders with no shopping or returns. Merry Christmas.
Irene from Lancaster, PA
This year, my daughter's Christmas presents will be bought with a theme in mind. At a recent Heritage festival, she was introduced to the Colonial style of using a wringer washer. The kids were allowed to scrub the clothes and hang them up on a clothesline. My daughter remarked that she could wash clothes all day long!
I think its nice that you want to encourage your daughter's interests, but may I suggest a few alternatives to a wringer washer:
A handmade book of old fashioned recipes (I think you can google Laura Ingalls Wilder recipes and find a few that way.)
The ingredients to make the food in old fashioned containers, as well as old fashioned looking baking/cooking pans.
A small pack of quilting squares, with needles and thread. A pack of "fat quarters" cost a few bucks at Walmart, and your daughter may only need a few squares to see if she's interested in quilting like the pioneers.
With adult supervision, many kids make candles just like the pioneers did. Although the pioneers didn't use paraffin that's available in most grocery stores, lol, you should be able to find directions online to make "pioneer candles". You don't have to worry about the looks of the candles, because many of the pioneers weren't concerned about the looks, as long as it gave out light.
She may also want to try her hand at embroidery. Depending on her age, many pioneer girls started embroidering pillow cases for their "hope chests" at a very early age. If your daughter doesn't want to do her own pillow case(s), maybe she'd want to do a sewing sampler like this one: http://www.marg samplers/40.html
If you google "sewing sampler", there are lots of models available, and you may even be able to find a free pattern.
Another source of ideas for more gifts may be to google for "civil war food", "civil war clothes" or something similar.
Again, I admire you for wanting to stimulate your daughter's mind, instead of giving her "typical" Christmas presents. However, I would strongly caution against buying an older wringer washer. They can be VERY dangerous for kids as well as adults.
Try giving food gifts for Christmas this year! There are so many things you can do. Our daughter and her new sister-in-law made homemade candy today to share.
One year, I made Christmas trees out of bread dough. It's easy! Just buy ready-made bread dough from your grocery store cold case, (make sure to get rolls and not actual loaves of bread) arrange the bread balls in the shape of a tree and bake. I decorated them with red and green cherries, glitter, etc. and glazed it with powdered sugar and milk. They looked great and all the people that I gave them to just loved them!
There are so many different, fun ideas out there. Check out your library if you need ideas or just keep checking this awesome web site for some! You're sure to find them!
By Robin from Washington, IA
Hi Robin, I love your tree idea! I plan to use this for thank you gifts to those who have shown kindnesses to me and my family.
I am wondering, though, were the decorations were put on before or after baking? The milk and powdered sugar too?
Which kind of balled roll dough works best...is it sweet or regular?
Don't think you can't give presents, most of us have enough to pass on to share in the spirit of the season. I was reminded of that when an old senior citizen buddy of ours gave us a "new" wood cutting board for our boat that had come out of some ship's teak woodwork. It was thoughtful, very much appreciated and probably didn't break his bank, either! It's the thought that counts.
By Pamphyila from Los Angeles