Way back in November, I asked our family about Christmas. I knew it was going to be a different holiday this year; the budget would be very tight -- so I asked them to fill in the blank: "It's just not Christmas without ______________."
One of the things that went on that list came from Mr. H -- it was really important to him to do neighbor gifts. So he and I put our heads together and came up with a couple of ideas we just loved -- a little nicer than usual -- and decided these would be our Christmas gifts to each other.
For our empty-nester neighbors, we made the Stress-Free Apple Crisp. We kept one bag/kit for ourselves and had it on Sinterklaas Day. Yummy! We had guests pop in that night, and I was able to offer them warm apple crisp with vanilla ice cream on the spot. I *totally* looked like some kind of Martha Stewart that night! Ha! If they only knew....I'm not telling! :-)
For our other neighbors with kids, we made this Christmas Star. The idea is that someone takes the star, does something nice for someone else and leaves this star on their pillow. Then *that* person does something nice for someone and leaves it on *their* pillow....get it? A whole lotta nice going on during the month of December.
I copied this idea from a scrapbooky book I found at the library. That's where I got the text for the tag. To make the tags, I picked up the kind you see in the picture at the office supply store and used an old-fashioned font for the words and then mod-podged it all to make it a little more sturdy. (Click on the picture to see the words more clearly.)
For the star, I went to Michael's and picked up some flat paper-mache star ornaments. I looked and looked for Christmas scrapbook paper to decorate the star with that would go along with what I had in mind, but I could never find it. So... I made some myself:
Christmas words: ...believe...merry and bright...star...celebrate....Savior...service
...good tidings of great joy...peace...love...wonder.... you get the picture.
I painted the stars to match the color used in my words, turned the paper over and cut out a star shape. I antiqued it a little, and then attached it and mod-podged the whole thing. Later, we packaged them up and went out together as a family early in December delivering stars and wishing all our neighbors (who were are *very* thankful for) a very Merry Christmas.
There have been many variations on this idea -- you don't have to go to the extra effort I did this year -- I've seen it in elementary schools with simple cut-out foam stars and a little note; here's one that was delivered to us a few years back. It looks like a magic wand! Cute!
This Christmas star was a fun project for me. A labor of love.
Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients
of a truly merry Christmas.
~ Peg Bracken
The neighbor gifts, the 12-day nativity -- all of these projects were ingredients of a merry Christmas for me. ♥
I hope you and yours are having fun December days -- Merry Christmas!!