Recently I asked a few questions to the subscribers of The My Poppet Weekly, my weekly email newsletter, around the topic of handmaking Christmas gifts. I had so many great responses that gave me some real insight, into what you as readers, were keen to see here on the blog.
One of the replies came from Christina who runs a creative business right here in Melbourne, called Our Little Caravan. She had a great suggestion: Hosting a Handmade Gift Exchange. I loved the idea and asked her to write a guest post about as it may inspire you to host a party too. Take it away Christina…
December is a month of many celebrations, no matter your religion. In Australia, it’s also the end of the school year, so there are many people to thank. This can involve gift giving to a list of people: family, friends, teachers, coaches, the postie*, the garbo*, and anyone else who deserves thanks. I tend to go overboard with the giving, which is why it’s great (and a lot of fun) to be a part of a handmade gift exchange with my crafty friends. A combination that includes: connection, creativity, craft and lots of Christmas gifts sorted, all in one fun filled night!
How does a Handmade Gift Exchange Party Work?
Say you have a group of 5 friends getting together, then everyone brings 5 unwrapped gifts. The gifts you bring can be handmade, baked, or ‘assembled’, and may be different colours or flavours, but all need to be basically the same item. Every person that brings 5 gifts will leave with 5 different gifts. There is no spending limit, but about $5-$10 gifts are recommended, for example: candles, cookies, cards, body scrub, jewellery, chocolate sauce.
If you want to take it to another level, (we did!) you can include the instructions (or recipe) of how to make your gift. If you choose to do this, the idea is to go around in a circle (of course over drinks and nibbles), describing how you’ve made your gift. By giving everyone their own prototype as well as the instructions, they can easily do it themselves at home. Everyone goes home at the end of the night with 5 ready-to-go gifts (either to keep or re-gift) and instructions to do so again.
The gifts can be as simple as putting tea leaves in a pretty jar with a ribbon and a gift tag, to something crocheted, or a small framed piece of art you’ve created. The idea is to give others ideas, and a repertoire of gifts to give out to their friends (although it is tempting to keep these little beauties all to yourself and instead ‘re-gift’ a box of chocolates that someone less creative has given you…
I hope I’ve inspired you to round up some friends and have a good time.
Take a look at he gallery below to see some of the gifts Handmade Gift Exchange Party participants have made in the past.
If finding your own group of creative friends is too hard to organise and you live in Melbourne, we’ll be holding our Handmade Gift Exchange Night at Our Little Caravan; the collective store on Thursday evening 14th December at 7:30pm. Everyone welcome. Contact us for more info. firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’m Christina, and in 2013 I renovated a vintage caravan, (named Mabel, after my nana) in my back garden. At first I used this creative space as my own “girl cave” (I’m a mum to 3 busy boys) and I would sometimes run craft workshops and birthday parties for children. I let this hobby turn into a business called My Little Caravan…which has since evolved a small shop space Our Little Caravan. Now we can invite grown-ups to join us. (They didn’t fit in the tiny caravan!) www.ourlittlecaravan.com.au
Thought this may help for our non-Aussie* readers x Cinti
*Australian Slang Glossary
postie = postman
garbo = garbage man/trash collector
Aussie = Australian