Have you started holiday crafting yet?
It seems like the holiday season is earlier every year ... or perhaps it's simply that I have more people on my gift list each year, so the amount of time I have for each present is diminished. Either way, it's generally in October that I really have to kick my crafting into high gear, if there's to be any hope at all!
Do you give homemade presents? We try to buy as little as possible, focusing instead on handmade items, repurposed goodies, family treasures that can be given to someone else who will appreciate their history and usefulness ... anything except brand-new, mass-produced things that will probably end up breaking quickly and being thrown away anyway! This year I'm particularly loving the 1920s Clothespin Apron, which is quick to make and a wonderful gift for anybody who does laundry. (Yes, conveniently enough, that's almost every adult I know!) If I'm giving it to someone who's never hung out wet clothes before, I may pair it with a pack of clothespins and even a laundry line, to make the process particularly easy. And sometimes including directions for tying clothesline knots can be a good idea, too!
(As a side note, if you know anyone even slightly handy with tools, a knot board is a wonderful gift for almost anybody above 6 or so. The concept is similar to this Boy Scout project, but is designed for practice instead of display. The simplest version is simply a piece of wood with metal loops on each end and two holes in the wood as well, given with two differently-colored pieces of rope or thick string and directions for tying several different kinds of knots -- these directions can be found in many places online, in various books, and elsewhere.)
The Protect and Serve Apron makes a wonderful gift also -- can you tell that I really like aprons? The name is splendid, of course, but the apron itself is wonderfully useful. I love pairing an apron with a set of cloth napkins or a couple of dishtowels. And it almost goes without saying that I make all these things with either organic fabric or reclaimed material from clothes that aren't useable any longer. Any fabric pieces too small to use for other projects become gift bags, continuing our tradition of not using wrapping paper through the holiday season. (I love knowing that the bags are part of the gift, and that they'll be used and passed on in the future.)
People with babies generally get either receiving blankets (quite possibly the easiest and most useful gift in the world) or one-piece bodysuits (what were called onesies before the term was patented). Some exceptionally lucky babies might get both, but that's fairly infrequent!
The Reading Pillow is another of my go-to gifts this year, as it works for all ages. I can personalize my fabric choice for each recipient -- a "manly" black hemp/tencel is perfect for my dad, while Corn Maiden's been Winnie's favorite fabric for quite some time now and Debbie is definitely a Cream Clara kind of girl. My youngest just might get one made from pieces of worn-out jeans patchworked together, as he needs the extra durability and doesn't care as much about how it looks!
Those are my plans and works-in-progress at the moment; what are yours?