I asked mom for wildflower seeds for the new project. She liked the idea a lot. We would need 50 lbs to seed it at the recommended rate, needless to say, she won't be buying us that much! I told her we will think of her every spring.
I have a few ideas. I don’t know any other Permie types in real life, but I do give gifts that are in keeping with my own values, usually handmade or local, something useful or tasty.
- cloth napkins (I often use scrap fabric or secondhand fabric)
- gift bags: I sew up reusable drawstring gift bags to to wrap gifts
- fabric itself: for friends who sew, I wrap gifts in fabric furoshki style so they can make something with it.
- sewing kits: I find a pattern and fabric I think a friend will enjoy and do all the crummy laborious bits: measuring and cutting. I give them a copy of the pattern, the pre-cut pieces, hardware (is it’s a purse or such), a spool of matching thread, and extra fabric in case it’s needed. These have been a big hit.
- re-usable shopping bags
- dish towels
Knit/crochet: I’m still learning!
- knit scarves
- crocheted washcloths
- tea towels
- jam! I love giving homemade jam, apple, Pumpkin, or pear butters In small 4oz jelly jars. They fit nicely in the toe of a stocking and I like to make unusual jams.
- dehydrated berries/ baked good mix: I like to dehydrate our wild raspberries and give them in Pint mason jars or mix them into a dry pancake mix or scone mix in a Quart jar with instructions attached.
- herbal tea mixes: first time will be this year, but I made herbal tea mixes foraging what was available on our property (raspberry leaf, chamomile, pineapple weed, nettles, mint, etc). They’re loose leaf, and I haven’t decided if I ought to give them with a diffuser or not. Also I think I might gift them in pouches made from brown craft paper instead of mason jars, to reduce costs (shipping especially).
- spice/seasoning blends: not from our own garden (yet) but we have made seasoning mixes, flavored rock salt, etc. from bulk herbs and spices. It’s was very economical and useful
-baking mixes: bread, pancake, cookie, scone etc. mixes. Layer the ingredients in a quart jar and add a pretty label with a list of wet ingredients to add and instructions. I usually give these with a useful utensil- my favorite are big wooden mixing spoons made by a local artisan.
- coffee: not the best Permie-wise, but I have some friends who really enjoy it and I buy from local roasters. I try for single origin and fair trade beans.
-local maple syrup and honey
- seeds! I usually nag every gardener on my Christmas lists to look at my online spreadsheet of seeds and let me know what they’d like. I always send some in Christmas packages.
- wax sandwich wraps: can be pretty/fun pattered and much more earth friendly than ziplock bags for preserving sandwiches and such. There is a local company to me that makes them but they are widely available.
- rocks and shells. Seriously. My dad likes weird stuff and decorated his whole yard in neat unique rocks and such. Several years I shipped him some shells I’d found at the beach or a cool rock I found. I also have a friend who paints rocks for fun,
So if I find a really unique one that’s smooth enough to paint I send it to her.
- experiences: some folks I know just don’t get much quality family time. Each year I give one friend an annual family zoo pass. They go maybe 20 times a year and love it. Movie or theatre tickets are another gift I’ve given many times. Another idea for families with young kids are science/children’s museums.
- soaps, candles, etc. just nice smelling things that get used up and enjoyed. Often purchased from local makers.
Typically I do little crafts year round and put aside gift items as I make them. By November I have my gift drawer mostly filled up, and I fill in the rest from the winter markets. My goal is to give things that are useful or consumable. I do not gift trinkets or baubles that take up space or personal taste items like clothing or jewelry. If an item is purchased rather than made I focus on ethical products from local folk.
I like to give things like books on herbal medicines, sometimes with samplers of some that I make. Maybe books on wild edibles, foraging, seeds or cuttings of plants I find harder to get or harder to start. Homemade food items. Books on food storage and canning, or prepping type storage. Living in Alaska there are many things that can cut off our food supply here...from earthquakes and avalanches to trucking strikes and all the current calamities. Prefer to be aware and ready in case a winter storm shuts down roads for several days or whatever.
I was thinking about this thread today, and how it'd be neat to give the gift of a PDC, and that we can actually do that here on permies with the 177 hours of Permaculture Design Course and Appropriate Design Course. But, just sliding someone a gift code number on a piece of paper seems to kind of devalue to gift.....But, what if it was presented on a pretty card?
One of my favorite ways to add value to a gift, is to make a pretty and personal card. I've never really figured out scrapbooking, but I can kind of draw. So I'd make a funny saying and draw or pain a pretty picture that goes along with it. (I did this a lot of for Mothers Day/Father's Day and my grandparents presents, as my grandparents always said they didn't need anything, but liked getting cards).
(fun story, as I was coloring the card, my kids decided they wanted to color one, too. So I printed out my black and white sketches. They started chatting as they were coloring, and my daughter asks my son, "Are you coloring it because you like Paul Wheaton?" My son replies matter-of-factly, "I do like Paul. He's a nature guy like me.")
Speaking of gifts, I'm reminded of a list I made here on permies 6 years ago (time flies!!) of homemade gift ideas, and how some of those things are now Badge Bits in our PEP course. So, you can learn a new skill, and then give it to to someone! And, if you're like me, everyone on your list will invariably get one of these things, and you'll get lots of practice making them. Maybe, just maybe, after a while you'll get good enough to sell them!
Anyway, here's some gift ideas (bolding the ones that fit in a stocking), that you can get Badge Bits for completing!
felt a bag or a pouch Tiny little pouches are great for putting tiny trinkets into and then putting in the stocking, making it harder for the recipient to guess what's in the stocking]
make a small pillow](I totally made one for my mom when I was a teenager, and one of my first gifts to my husband was a pillow in his favorite colors, and I made little pillows for my kids' toys, too)
crochet a dishcloth(I had a co-worker who made washrags in lots of different colors every year, and let us all pick our favorite three. They were a huge hit!)
weave a basket (if you're like me, it might take you a lot of tries to make a decent basket! But, you could also make one to hold the person's present, too! Just drape it with a pretty dishtowel to hide the contents!)
knit a hotpad (my grandma, mother, and sister-in-law all got nice wool hot pads!))
create a sewing kit (I made one years back for my neice who was interested in sewing. She loved it!)
needle-felt a figure (Guess how I got good at making needle-felted things! All my family members got something, bwahahahaha! Small creations can be made pretty quickly, and fit in a stocking
I see a lot of ideas for "stuff." Fair enough, our dill pickles are so good that family members keep the brine and make more pickles in it. Jam from hand-picked fruit on our property is flavourful ambrosia instead of commercial corn syrup. Win!
But what about services? What about "help that's needed?" Gift certificates!
Dobbin the Workhorse! A whole afternoon of heavy lifting and fixing! Will bring tools!
One evening of guitar playing-and-singing to impress your friends at a gathering around your fire. (An indoor salon would have worked in the past, nixed by F*nCV.)
Stay sharp or die! Will swing by for a cup of porch coffee and tune up your kitchen and garden tools while telling tall tales. Tell your neighbours; if they bring a little nice port, they may get a little nice sharp too.
... A shrubbery! Will scrounge awesome plants and seeds and compost, and transform your yard into a pollinator and hummingbird and wee bird haven. Bragging rights!
That's based on my list of specialties of course. It's about value-added, based on expertise that you've earned the old-fashioned way. You may need to follow up and gently nudge people, though. Canadians, at least, don't like to impose.
Ha, I just realized those things on my earlier post are all things I would like for Xmas! LOL.
Also, this year in particular, people might appreciate your homegrown or wildcrafted immune supports. It is probably not too late in many areas to gather and dry mullein leaves or rose hips. Other ideas with ingredients gathered earlier in the year might be elderberry syrup or gummies, echinacea, nettle, etc.
Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
This year I bought 5 gallons of raw honey from a local farmer. (Why not? It’s supposed to last forever right?). So everyone will be getting a jar of honey in their stocking. I might laser cut some little honey bee and honey comb ornaments to decorate the jars.
I’ve also been considering buying a bunch of the botanical prints from Good Nature Publishing in bulk. I would laminate them and give a few to the kids in the family each year as place mats or posters for their room. A lot of adults would probably appreciate them as well in a Goodwill frame.
I have a few patches that consistently grow 4+ leaf clovers. I pluck a few on occasion if I see some without bug damage. I thought I might set some in resin as little keychains or something for the kids.
And it’s already been mentioned but... soap. I recently learned that my aunt and I share a love of butter lambs. She would make butter lamb shaped soaps for Christmas and Easter gift. Since she recently passed, I thought I should pick up that tradition.
She left me a massive 100+ year old Christmas cactus that belonged to my great grandma. So lots of people will be getting clones from the pieces that broke off during transport.