‘Clean Up’ Your Christmas List


“Never get tired of doing little things for others. Sometimes, those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts.” — Unknown

Christmas is fast approaching and we are all struggling to fill in the gift list.  Our hearts and minds feel that something created by our own hands are wonderful ideas, but our cramped schedule is screaming, “No!  There just isn’t enough time!”  Still, we want to give the perfect gifts – something that will speak to their hearts.

I can tell you from experience I know how this inner war feels.  It would be so much easier for me to spend my time in the stores (and all my money, as well), trying to pick out the perfect gift.  The problem is, most people don’t really ‘need’ anything.  If they do, they have long since stopped and picked it up for themselves.  Anything left is simple a ‘want’.  Even then, we are never absolutely sure they either don’t already have it or if it is something they will even want.

For me, the best gift I can receive is one given from the heart and hands.  Nothing speaks of love for me more than when I ‘see’ the time and love that went into a handmade gift.  Let’s face it – handmade anything takes a lot of time, and quite frankly, you have to love both the creative process and the recipient to make the effort to create something just for them.  You can also look at it another way.  Handmade gifts always come with attachments – Love, Appreciation, Thoughts & Prayers.

I have weighed the benefits – both financial and time – of purchasing a gift, or making something by hand.  Yes, you do have to shop for supplies.  Yes, you do spend time during the creative process.  But it amazes me how many fun things you can make that: a) doesn’t cost an arm and a leg; b) doesn’t take months to make; c) is a gift someone would actually want; and (my favorite) d) it brings joy on both ends – the creation and the giving.

One easy thing to make that comes to mind is soap.  I love making it.  It is easy.  It is fun.  Everyone uses it – or should.  I have to admit, I do like making and using the lye based soaps.  However, it is a much longer process and you have to either order some of the supplies, or if you live around here, you have to drive at least two hours to pick them up.  There is a simpler soap making process that does just as well.  You need fewer supplies and the initial process takes half an hour or less.  Curing time takes at least a couple of hours or more, but the beauty is you can set it aside and do other tasks while the finished product hardens.  Even better – the local hobby shops carry most, if not all of the supplies.

Need a small gift for a friend?  Need something $10 or less for a Christmas party?  Searching for stocking stuffers?  Look no further.  Meet me over at the DIY page  (https://www.thefarmwife.com/category/diy/) and I will give you instructions on how to create a great gift for little time and money.  The best part?  One batch can make several gifts.  Now, head on over to you list with your pencil, and start marking DONE in several places!

Making soap?  Be sure to share with us your completed project.  Just comment below – and be sure to attach a photo!

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Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

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