My aim is to make this Christmas a bit more meaningful by personally making decorations, sweets, biscuits, presents and whatever else I can find. I have always been too busy to do too much other than decorate the house but it has always been a dream to put more creative thought into the festive season. I am a late developer when it comes to the Domestic Goddess role but, given we do not know what the future holds on the economic front, I think the time is right to get into this role sooner than later.
When I was a child my mother used to hand make most of our Christmas presents staying up late into the night. I still have the many dolls, clowns and bears she made. Of course my own daughter had very different Christmas experiences and very different expectations. When she was two she asked Santa Claus for a red racing car. On Christmas her little face was notably disappointed at the large toy car. She was expecting the real thing. She has since bought her own.
My mother is very accomplished in many ways and would make and decorate the most amazing Christmas cakes, sweets and puddings that you could imagine. Christmas in Australia is in the middle of summer so we tend to have BBQs and seafood rather than traditional Christmas fare (although it still happens). I have spent Christmas in the UK, Germany, the US and Canada and have experienced how wonderful White Christmases are also. Regardless of the weather, or what part of the world you spend it, it's a wonderful time to reflect on the season's true meaning and spend time with our families.
I must say that I am totally inspired by all the creative bloggers out there who just do the most amazing crafts and decorate their homes into Christmas wonderlands. I am going to start small but over the next few weeks please join me on my latest project and my quest to be a Christmas Goddess. And of course, if you have any favourite things you make, or traditions you follow, please let me know. I could do with all the help I can get.
PROJECT 1: CHRISTMAS CRACKERS
I actually made crackers last year as we had a large family celebration and I wanted something special to give to each person. Store bought crackers or bonbons are a waste of money really. They are expensive and all you get is a party hat, a joke that usually isn't funny and perhaps a small trinket which most people throw away.
Making the crackers yourself enables you to personalise the contents for each person. It is so much fun! And great for the children to get involved in too!
Fillers for the crackers, cellophane bag, cardboard, Christmas paper, glue or tape, bonbon snaps (the pop!), ribbon
You can put whatever you want in the crackers. I personalise them for each person and use small gifts for females such as makeup and perfume samples, jewellery, bath sachets, chocolates, miniature size bottle of Baileys (or a beverage they prefer), lottery ticket, pretty handkerchief, small painting I have done, photo, movie tickets, quotations, etc etc. For males I use miniature bottles of alcohol, golf balls, candy, lottery tickets, puzzles, vouchers, etc.
Finding the items for each person is the fun bit. You can make them then as cheap as you want or as expensive as you want. You can also make your cracker as your main gift to others if you wish. And of course don't forget to add handmade hats and find some appropriate jokes too.
Assembling your crackers
1. I put the contents into a cellophane bag first to keep them secure and to enable them to be packed more easily into the cardboard roll.
2. Cut cardboard and make a roll which covers the packet of contents snugly. Tape the roll so it is secure.
3. Put the cellophane packet into the roll of cardboard.
4. Cut some Christmas paper out so that it is twice as long as the cardboard roll and wide enough to roll them completely with some left over.
5. Place the cardboard roll in the middle of the paper with a good length of paper on either side. If you are using the bonbon snaps (available at craft stores) and are a must I think, tape one to the outside of the cardboard roll. Make sure that the middle of the banger is in the middle of the cardboard, so a bit pokes out at either end.
6. Roll up the whole lot carefully in the Christmas paper and tape down the end.
7. Tie ribbon on either side of the cracker being careful not to rip the paper.
8. Decorate the outside of the cracker in any way you want. It's a tradition in my extended family that the youngest children always hand out the presents and the crackers. Therefore, I usually put photos of who the crackers are for on the outside to make it easier for the small ones who do not know how to read. You can use Christmas themed name tags.
Here is an example of a finished Christmas Cracker I made today for my daughter. I like to make them in white, gold, silver or sometimes red and use complementary ribbons. Try them because they are so much fun and everyone loves them, because they are personalised and they have wonderful treasures inside.