There are probably a number of young mothers who feel a lot of pressure this time of year and wonder how in the world they can do it all. There really isn't any law, Biblical or civil, that says you have to celebrate this season, but there are a number of ways to enjoy it if it is kept in perspective. Basically, people can do exactly as they please, and if they don't like something about the Christmas rush, they are absolutely free to skip the whole thing, if it gives them more peace. After all, its motto is "peace on earth."
When we were first married, we had no money to spend outside of our normal expenses of food and rent and gas. A friend noticed that we didn't have any signs of the season around our house, and she surprised us by coming over and creating a festive centerpiece for our table. She provided a few gifts and brought us a casserole. I was all for skipping the occasion, but after she had worked in her special way, I loved the effect of the tinsel and lights and the warmth of the table setting.
Our own children had a marvellous time one year just wrapping up their old toys and books, in small baby blankets, and giving them to each other. They had loads of fun discovering what was in the gift, because they had not seen some of the toys in such a long time.
One way to ease the busy-ness of the season is to say "yes" to any invitation of the parents or grandparents on either side, to spend the holidays with them. Everything there is usually all prepared.
There are many ways to create a sparkly Christmas without spending money, or spending very little. Below, you see the card stock weight cut-outs, outlined in glitter glue, with extra glitter sprinkled on. A small hole-punch can be used to provide a place to insert a thread or string to hang the ornaments.
The pattern below can be printed on card stock in any color. I have provided little stands for the candle and the teapot, in case it is to be used for a place card or a greeting card. Put some floral stickers on the teapot to make it look like fine china. Cardboard stands can be made for the other ornaments if desired, but they can also be hole-punched and used for ornaments.
Print this out on cardstock
The house ornament could be cut on a strip of folded paper so that it makes a garland. Some of you who are experienced in drawing houses, can put doors and windows, window boxes, and even candles in the windows, and add white glitter on the roof. Punch a hole in the top for an ornament, or cut on multi-folded paper and make a garland.
Most people already have some kind of paper in the house. We used to save business mail, because one side was always blank. These were used for our paper crafts. If you do not have card stock, you can glue your cut outs to the cardboard from cereal boxes or other boxes you normally would throw away. Glazing the ornaments with a brush dipped in glitter glue makes them look more expensive.
When you read the Little House on the Prairie series, you get the sense that the children were happy with just a pair of hand knit gloves as a gift. In Victorian times, people spent time secretly scurrying about trying to get materials to make little things like handkerchiefs and bags or holders for things.
Sentimental hand made gifts from Ladies Home Journal, 1890
One lady in her 80's told me she wondered why people didn't just send her a hand made patchwork potholder trimmed in bias tape, the way they used to. People used to look forward to getting an interesting dish towel or some soap and bubble bath. Christmas used to be the time we received our socks and slippers for the year. In some stores, here in the north, they run a sock sale just after Christmas. People go into the stores and pick out their socks and hide them behind other merchandise so they can go straight to them when the sale is on. I don't know if the proprietors have caught on yet, but this has been a tradition for many years at the local Fred Meyers, a department store.
This year I noticed more and more hand made cards which are just beautiful. The card companies have to work hard to compete with the dimensional specialness of hand crafted cards. Cards, whatever the season, seem like a very bright and interesting enterprise for young ladies at home.The hand made cards are so special, they are worth saving in a box for someone to find years later. The hand made ones are so intricate, it seems that it would be gift enough. Some of them should be wrapped in paper and ribbon and given as gifts.
The only thing I do is string up some lights, and I put them on the inside of the house, along the top of windows. If someone drops by, they get a cup of hot cranberry-apple spiced punch. I mainly like the sparkle, the lights, and the brightness of the season.
Here you see the glittery chenille wired stems that come in a package of 20 for a dollar, used as initials on small gifts. Inside the packages: a small calendar, and a blank notebook with a beautiful cover, each only costing a dollar. On the left is an icicle ornament made by wrapping chenille wire around a pencil. An entire tree of these is just beautiful.
Wrapping paper can be made by rubber stamping the inside of brown paper bags or any white paper. It is much more challenging to the intellect to think of ways to manage a celebration without spending money.