Tuesday, 8 January 2013

GreeNZ Christmas Celebrations

Ukulele stand made from cedar offcuts

 Gifts.  "Something that is bestowed voluntarily or without compensation.  The act, right or power of giving."

Looking back on our 2012 Christmas celebrations, it warms the heart to think that we did our bit to gift sustainably.  While some family gifts were purchased, many were handmade.  I have read that this says much about the giver, but I think it goes further, it says much about the relationship between giver and giftee.  It says "I care enough to spend time thinking about you and then making something specifically for you." A handmade gift puts you out on a limb, exposes you, often hand-made means slightly imperfect.  But isn't it precisely that imperfection which makes hand-made gifts perfect!!  

I know I sometimes feel a sense of overwhelm on birthdays or Christmas - what to do with all the extra things??  I know it sounds terribly ungrateful but I think it is because I feel I already have so much!  We live a simple life, and each new thing we bring into it, creates clutter!  And yet, giving and receiving are our lot in life.  We cannot just give and not receive.  We have to show gratitude to all that comes to us in life.  The blessings are abundant and each gift proclaims that we have a special place in that person's life.  That they have taken time to think of us.
Christmas heart decorations for my daughter

A variety of stitching, old recycled jewellery and glitter used to " szouch"
up little felt hearts filled with lavender

My sister and I had a conversation about what Christmas means personally to each of us.  For her, she loves the "magic" of Christmas, the baubles, shiney, sparkly and ornamental representations of childhood memories and times past.  The smell of home-baking and family.    Being creative in the kitchen.  For me, it means the opportunity to get really creative, to think of people who mean something to me and to set about making gifts for them.  To both of us, it represents a time for Family.  So for my son, I made funky guitar car fresheners with pine essential oil and recycled a beautiful shaped pre-loved wooden salad bowl.  For my daughter I made felt heart decorations and for my husband, I made a food cover for the kefir which he does every night.  I also made him a recycled coffee bag which advertises the organic coffee which he sells!  This was a small token gift as we always buy ourselves a combined gift each year, rather than individual gifts.  This year we replaced our ageing and ailing back massager.  It is heavenly and helps keep the back vital and in sync.

An old "doiley" with hand-knotted beads for a food cover

Our son marvels at his hand-made sculpture
made by his sister

Wire sculpture hand-made by Shayni
My daughter spent many days banging away in the garden shed, making her gifts.  She made an ingenious little ukulele stand for us (top).  Funky and functional!  She spent ages trying to figure out how to balance it out and we were amazed by her level of craftsmanship   She also handcrafted a wire sculpture of an acrobatic skateboarder for her skateboarding brother.  Last year, she made a wire sculpture of a guitar player for her guitarist brother, so these 2 characters now form a little duo.    I still wear the cedar heart necklace she made for my Christmas gift last year.

Trade Aid mbira
We bought a little hand-made mbira for our son from Trade Aid, which he loves experimenting with the sounds of Africa.  It is great to support initiatives like Trade Aid and Oxfam Unwrapped.  This latter organisation allows you to purchase gifts on behalf of the receiver, which supports initiatives for helping others trapped in the cycle of poverty.  So when in doubt of what to give to someone - another ornament or pretty nic-nac, why not gift them something that will improve the life of someone else?   Or take something destined for the rubbish dump and breathe a new life into it!  That often makes the gift feel good!  Imagine all the extra plastic and packaging that went into landfill this Christmas, from store-bought goods??

Our friends and neighbours received hand-made goods, like lavender sachets, home-made jams, home-grown plants and trees, compostable Christmas decorations and kitchen crafts.  I LOVE Christmas!!!  A time of giving and gifting!
Shanti loves the spirit of Christmas and all that tissue paper!

A Christmas snooze

 Inca-Fe recycled coffee tote bag with fun Atiu (Cook Islands)
front pouch

Coffee tote bag with reinforced fabric liner and pocket
And now that Christmas is past and gift-giving is over and done with for another year, I am free to explore other options of making....... like my son's 20th birthday coming up............off to the shed I go.......

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