Rethinking Holidays: Revolution Gift Idea #1 | Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

September 30, 2009

Rethinking Holidays: Revolution Gift Idea #1

Rethinking Holidays

As promised, here is my inaugural Rethinking Holidays post. Last week, I wrote a post about My Thoughts on Holidays. In short, I've been challenged to reassess the way I thinking about and celebrate holidays. I want to be less materialistic and money-centric, and more people and quality-time focused. Every Holiday stands for something, and we should get back to the roots and meanings of these set aside celebrations. I want to continue celebrating and loving people over these dates, but I believe that "things" and "bankruptcy" do not have to be (and SHOULD not be) apart of that equation.

So, my hubby and I are challenging ourselves to change our mindset on 1) how we view and celebrate holidays, 2) how we celebrate and love people on holidays, and 3) equating lots of MONEY and THINGS with LOVE.

I am throwing down the gauntlet, and challenging you to do the same.

Every Wednesday, from now until the end of December (when a majority of Holidays, particularly GIFT GIVING Holidays, will be celebrated), I will post an alternative gift idea. I'm calling them Revolution Gifts, as I see this change in mindset as a revolution of sorts. Hear me on this: I do NOT believe gifts are bad; on the contrary, I think giving someone we love a gift can be one sign of our affection towards them. I do not think, though, that LOTS of things, or the PRICE of things, should indicate my level of affection (which has become harder to delineate when holidays revolve around expensive shopping extravaganzas).

So, the gift ideas I will be sharing with you are either Handcrafted, Frugal or Free. That's right, sometimes we don't have to spend any money at all to to give a gift! I have found that these 3 categories of gifts are more PERSONAL and much more MEANINGFUL, because they come from the heart (and, sometimes, the hands).

Some of these gifts may be no-brainers, but I find that the simplest things in life are often the ones most overlooked. For some of you, they may be too simple. For others, I hope this opens a door to a new way of looking at gift giving!

Revolution Gift Idea #1:
Learn a New Creative Hobby/Skill

Too ambitious for Gift #1?

I think not.

Now, the rest of the upcoming gift ideas will be more specific and somewhat instructional, but I purposely chose this gift idea first. Why? Because there are more than 2 months until the major gift-giving holidays arrive. That is PLENTY of time to learn a new, crafty skill that will enable you to MAKE gifts. (It is also great to have a creative hobby, as I have found it causes me to spend my free time with less mind-numbing distractions [read: I'm not sitting in front of the TV for several hours or scanning the internet for, what, Facebook status updates?!?]). Also, some of the gift ideas I have to share over the next few weeks require some creativity and a bit of skill.

Some of you reading this may be jumping at the chance to learn something new, and others may be thinking, "What? Me? I am about as creative as a slug (read: not creative)." Friends, carpe diem! You may be more creative than you think! And with a little time, patience and practice, many of these creative hobbies can be learned and mastered quite easily!

Here are a list of a few to consider:

~ Crocheting
~ Knitting
~ Baking
~ Cooking
~ Woodworking
~ Painting
~ Sculpting
~ Pottery
~ Jewelry Making
~ Sewing (with a machine)
~ Sewing (on a canvas, such as Cross-Stitching)
~ Gardening
~ Canning/Jarring

Is that a good start? Think of all the creative gifts you can make with the hobbies listed above: Hats, Scarves, Socks, Shelves, Picture Frames, Art, Necklaces, Earrings, Clothing, Curtains, Handbags, Fresh Floral Arrangements, Fruit and Vegetable Baskets, Cookies, Cakes, Soups, Salsas, Sauces.

I'd take ANY of those items, especially if they were handcrafted by a loved one! And, the supplies to MAKE a gift often come in way under actually BUYING the gift (Example: If I crochet a hat, it costs me roughly $3 for yarn and about 2 hours of my time. If I went an bought someone a similar hat, I'd be spending roughly $10-$25, and it wouldn't be nearly as personal or meaningful).

So now the question is, HOW do I learn these new skills? And in the next 2 months?!?

Here are my suggestions:

1) Ask a friend or family member who has already mastered that skill to teach you. Yup. No brainer. But, not only will you learn a new skill, but you get to spend quality time with someone you care about. WIN-WIN.

2) Take a class. Many adult night schools have classes that teach these skills. Our local adult night school, Chester County Night School, has an impressive list! I have been interested in taking a class at our local Joann Fabric and Craft Store (for a list of classes and locations, click HERE). Many other craft or hardware stores offer trainings, classes or seminars. Home Depot sponsors workshops, and by joining their Home Improvers Club, you can get details on workshops near you.

3) Google it. This is how I refreshed my memory on how to crochet. I googled "Learn How to Crochet," and was lead to dozens of "How to" Guides and instructional videos. The videos were extremely helpful!

It's a start. And, with 2+ months, we have plenty of time to learn and perfect new skills!

* Do you regularly partake in any of the hobbies I listed (or didn't list!)? Consider leaving a comment with your name, location and contact info. It would be great to match people up for lessons! (Note: I am happy to teach anyone who lives locally the basics for crocheting, cooking and baking!)

Are you with me on the Rethinking Holidays adventure? Leave a comment! Do you have Revolution Gift Ideas? Send them my way!

See you back here next Wednesday with Revolution Gift Idea #2!


  1. Christmas is coming fast and for those who are looking for a great gift or stocking stuffer for friends and family.

    My new fantasy novel, "Gateway to DreamWorld," was released last month and has been receiving rave reviews. Looking forward to a movie deal in the future.

    During the cold months ahead, they will curl up to a warm fire and enter a fantasy world filled with excitement and suspense.

    The book is listed on, Barnes&, and Powell’s

  2. I am with you. I agree wholeheartedly about commericialism overtaking the REAL and simple meaning of the holidays. I am thinking mostly of Christmas. I don't do alot of gift giving... the challange for me/us is that we wait until Thanksgiving and draw names (with my 8 sibling/their families and my Mom) for Christmas. The challenge is waiting to see who you get in order to then come up with the perfect (in my case) mostly handmade gift. So, in a sense I am already doing this. IT's been rethought -so to speak. But. I love the challange presented to learn something new. The desire is there - I just need to do it...


Hey! Share a thought or two - I'd love to hear from you! ~ Steph

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