I love Christmas! There, I’ve said it. I really do. Of course as a Christian, the celebration of the birth of Christ is deeply meaningful for me. And there’s the festive decorations adorning our small tree. I even add edible ornaments (ie: candy canes). So if the grandbabies visit they’re welcome to eat our Christmas decorations. LOL
I love gathering with our extended family who have always been a close-knit group. Whichever family member is hosting Christmas in any given year has only to provide some of the food. We each bring our favorites to contribute to the meal. That way no one family is burdened with doing everything themselves.
But even with all this seasonal joy I find myself falling into a dark funk sometimes. Maybe you do too?
This time of year we often see shouting from different sides of the fence about the holidays. Some are incensed that someone would dare take Christ out of the holiday, some are angry that someone is pushing for only homemade gifts while others are angry that some families like to shop for their Christmas gifts.
I find this puzzling and oftentimes very much counter to the season itself. A season that typically promotes feelings of joy & peace. You may not celebrate your holidays the way your neighbor does, and that’s OK!
RancherMan & I wanted to begin raising bees for many reasons: to help the declining honeybee population, to aid in our vegetable garden pollination and of course – HONEY! We harvested a couple of frames of honey last fall so I could FINALLY have raw honey which contained ragweed pollen. I’m hoping consuming that raw unfiltered honey will help with my fall allergies.
But there’s another beehive product that’s been very helpful – all-natural beeswax. I purified the wax and decided to use some of it to make beeswax lip balm for myself as well as part of our homemade Christmas Gifts. This lip balm really couldn’t be easier – only 3 ingredients! Check it out, y’all.
Whelp, the holidays are over y’all. Our Christmas was grand, I hope you all had a great one too! As I’m looking over the gifts so purposely given to RancherMan & me, I’m incredibly touched at the thoughtfulness of them.
Many of you like to give low-waste gifts so I thought it would be fun to share some of the fun gifts that RancherMan & I received. They were environmentally friendly low-waste Christmas gifts and very well suited to our tastes.
This time of year is known for cheer and excitement. Trees trimmed with sparkly decorations & cheerful gifts under the tree. It’s known for an awareness of sharing and giving to others. A gentle season pushing us to remove the focus from ourselves & think of others. But oftentimes there’s an uglier side too. Think about all the hateful rhetoric flung about on social media this time of year about Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays. Sometimes it calls for action, snarkily responding to those wishing us a Happy Holiday that we want to hear only MERRY CHRISTMAS!
It’s a well-meaning but oftentimes harsh push to keep Christin Christmas. But that unnecessary ugliness is really disturbing to me.
Y’all know RancherMan & I like to make our Christmas gifts ourselves. To us, it’s just so much more personal. Plus by doing so we’ve removed ourselves from the consumerism and stressful side of the holiday. We feel it’s brought us back to a more well-balanced Christmas filled with the love of Christ & the warmth of family & friends. Sure it takes more time (and sometimes more money too) but we feel we’re living our values, and that’s important to us.
We’ve made many different homemade gifts over the years, they’ve all been well received. And our grandchildren always receive experience gifts. But we still want them to have something to open during our family Christmas Day celebration too.
So we decided to make pocket hand warmers for each of them to keep their little handsies warm during the chill of winter.
It’s easy to overlook others when your life is going well. You know, when your career is holding steady, your children are healthy and happy, your marriage is strong and you have no sudden unexpected medical conditions to plunge you into that place where no one wants to land…
But what if that weren’t the case?? Think about these real-life circumstances for just a moment: What if your spouse left you or died? What if your child developed a serious and very expensive medical condition? What if you were laid off from your posh well-paying career without warning?
Don’t kid yourself, these things can happen to any of us.
As is our tradition, RancherMan & I are making many of our Christmas gifts ourselves. This year we’ve been busy making several different kinds of gifts. I’ve also been experimenting with making extracts – it’s all been so much fun!
I thought homemade mint extract might make great gifts, but if I was going to give them as gifts I needed to purchase small jars to hold them. But it just seems… I don’t know – not quite right to go to the craft store & buy small bottles. Thankfully I’ve found an alternative that works beautifully – check out today’s Homestead Hack.