Somehow, we are only 28 days from Christmas. I feel like it was just Halloween and now we’re passed Thanksgiving and into the land of 4:20PM sunsets. I’m definitely missing the long, warm days of Hawaii. I’ve slowly plugged along with making Christmas presents since July, but now that we’re into the last month before Christmas, it’s getting to the point where I just want to be done and ready for Christmas Day.
I know a lot of people suggest only giving gifts to the children in the family or to do a white elephant exchange with the adults, my family loves giving gifts, and so do I. My mom is a “Christmas elf” and spends a ton of time in November and December decorating and preparing to have us all over for Christmas Day, and that includes finding perfect gifts for everyone in the family. I’ve definitely inherited “elf” qualifies from her, and my favorite part of Christmas is gift giving – when the gift is wanted and appreciated, that is.
My mom, grandmother, and mother in law all watch our son during the week, which really helps with our childcare costs and made it possible for me to cut back at work, so Christmas is a time where we can thank them for their priceless help in raising our son. For this reason, we tend to spend a little more on their gifts every year, like this mattress to replace my mother in law’s old, uncomfortable bed.
While we spend more on the three of them, we have quite a few other people we choose to give Christmas presents to. In order to keep costs and our environmental impact down, we hand make most of the gifts. Over the year, I’ve canned jams, jellies, tomatoes, and candied jalapeños, and we’ve gifted fresh tomatoes and raspberries for summer birthdays.
A new gift this year is thanks to my son. He loves helping me garden, and we ended up with an entire raised bed of marigolds this year. Come the end of summer, I ended up being able to collect a huge amount of flower seeds, and I decided they would be a great Christmas gift for quite a few people on our Christmas list. Marigolds are prolific and really easy to grow, so they’re a great gift for even brand new gardeners.
I’m not particularly crafty, but I also don’t like buying materials just to package a gift (which is why we use gift bags like these instead of wrapping paper). I first looked up directions on DIY folded seed packets and figured I could use the paper grocery bags our roommate brings home since he never remembers the reusable ones.
They didn’t turn out so well.
When I realized my attempts weren’t going to work out, I remembered that I had leftover envelopes from last year’s Christmas cards. I order enough for close by family but then hand them out and don’t use the envelopes. They’re a bit larger than absolutely necessary (marigold seeds are tiny), but I was glad to find something at home I could reuse instead of buying something new.
I had taken photos of the marigolds when they were in full bloom this summer, so I printed them and cut them out to fit the envelopes and glued them on. I chose a few key details from the original Botanical Interests seed packet and hand wrote them on the side of the envelope. I know I could have printed them out for a more professional look, but I wanted to clearly show that I had grown the seeds myself.
The longest part of this whole process was counting out the seeds (75 per packet), but you could easily just eyeball this and take a lot less time than I did.
While they aren’t perfect, I’m quite happy with how they turned out, and I know they will be a welcome gift come Christmas. I hold a much higher value on homegrown, repurposed, and free gifts, and these seed packets check all those boxes.
I still have a few gifts yet to finish, but it feels good to have most of them done now – and none of them useless junk that will end up at Goodwill someday.