Our homemade Christmas

December 26, 2010 § 6 Comments

This year, Robert and I realized that our finances were not only tight for the holiday season, but they were actually strangling us these past several months. Although he and I were paid early for December, we fought against the temptation to spend our paychecks, shoved everything into savings as quickly as we could, and followed through with our original plan: make all our presents by hand this year. All total, we spent between $40 and $50 on gifts for seventeen people.

What magical gift did we make this year?

Christmas cookies, of course!


All day Wednesday Robert and I worked hard on baking all of our cookies. We went to Sam’s Club and bought a ginormo bag of sugar cookie mix (by Krusteaz–surprisingly delicious, and affordable!), which promised to bake 21 dozen cookies. Obviously, we still have quite a bit of the mix left. We knew we wanted to give everyone white snowmen with white sugar dusted on them, red stars with white sugar dusted on them, and green Christmas trees with holiday nonpareils on them. We made three batches of cookies first: one “white” (not dyed), one green, and one red.

**Side story: all morning on Wednesday, Robert and I traipsed around town to all the different grocery stores (and any potential store that would carry it) looking for red food dye. We went to a Winn-Dixie, a Publix, Hobby Lobby, Target, World Market and Party City. The last three were just sort of on a whim, but they didn’t apparently carry any food dye. The first two stores obviously carried food dye but were sold out of red. Of course. We finally made it to Kroger and they not only had red food dye, but they had baskets of the little bottles by the baking goods end-caps. I was so astonished and thrilled that I grabbed three bottles. I only needed most of one. Oh well, better to have and not need, right?**

Once the cookies were baked and cooled, I dipped them in homemade royal icing while Robert worked the sugar and nonpareils. I think they turned out looking great! 🙂 Plus, they’re super tasty.

A few weeks ago, when we were formulating this plan, I decided it wouldn’t quite be a homemade Christmas if I didn’t make the packaging as well. So, I started digging around the Interwebs for some ideas, and I found a site that showed me how to make an origami box with a lid. I had a few books of scrapbooking paper from a project I once started but didn’t have the money to finish. I used patterned paper for the tops and paired them with solid paper for the bottoms. At first, I was worried because I didn’t have any Christmas scrapbook paper…but then, after I made the boxes, I just fell in love with them despite their non-holiday theme.

They turned out rather well, right? 🙂

For the tags, I bought a small package of bookmarks from Hobby Lobby, measured and traced out a gift tag design, and then cut each one to the correct shape.

Bookmarks-turned-gift tags! 🙂

These presents were a labor of love, and I really had a fun time making them with Robert. 🙂

Hope all of you had a very merry Christmas!


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