google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html From Junk to Jewels- How to Turn Your Stuff into Memorable Christmas Gifts | The Armchair Genealogist

From Junk to Jewels- How to Turn Your Stuff into Memorable Christmas Gifts

This is not an article about turning junk into crafts. I am not about gluing, cutting or pasting. I am not about creating more work for myself. I can appreciate those who can handcraft a keepsake. Unfortunately, not all of us have that talent. However, I am also not about going out to buy a gift just to say I gave a gift. I am trying to become smarter about spending hard-earned money on useless items just to conform to a holiday. With age, I think comes wisdom and I am putting more thought into gift-giving that has meaning rather than grabbing something off the shelf.

Christmas time is upon us and before we become all consumed with Christmas shopping, I would like to encourage everyone to take a different approach to your holiday spending habits. Everyone should think about shopping within the four walls of your home. Some of the greatest gifts I have received in my life have been small keepsakes that belonged to my ancestors. For instance, I have a lovely pink Depression glass cake plate that my grandmother gave to me at my bridal shower 22 years ago. It was given to her at her bridal shower over 80 years ago.

Every year at Christmas, I have a lovely nativity scene I put on display. It does not have any great monetary value but it was the nativity scene that was displayed in my home when I was a child. I have been displaying it every Christmas since I was married.

When my in-laws passed away, we inherited many of their belongings. However, proudly displayed in my kitchen is my mother-in-law’s rolling pin, cooking is a passion I shared with her, so that simple rolling pin has great meaning for me.

Therefore, before you head to the mall, take a good look around your home, if there is a momento you feel you would be willing to part with and share with your children, grandchildren and friends, than I encourage you to consider a new approach. Don’t wait to leave it in a will or an inheritance, present it to them now, while you can share the joy on their face when they receive it.

Think about it like the ultimate in conservation, preservation and recycling. Now don’t get crazy and use this as an opportunity to get rid of your junk. Be selective and intuitive to what you think your children, grandchildren and friends would appreciate. Include a little note with the gift, stating its history, special meaning or a memory that is attached to the item.

A piece of jewellery, a picture, a Christmas ornament, a favourite plate or serving dish, a special cookie jar, a quilt, a teapot, a chair, a book, pay attention to what your family and friends comment on when they visit your home. Make a mental note, and when the occasion arises, like Christmas or a birthday or anniversary use the opportunity to give a gift that is more valuable than any item, in any big box store.

It is not necessary for these gifts to have any large monetary value attached to them. Maybe you purchased it 20-30 years ago on sale at your local department store. The value comes in the memories that have evolved around this item in your home. Maybe it has become a mainstay, a presence in your everyday life. Pass the memories forward with the present, its presence in the hands of your children or a grandchild extends far beyond its monetary value.

So save your money and your time. This Christmas, shop at home and give to your family a token of your love money can’t buy. I would enjoy hearing your ideas. What special gifts have you received or given? Feel free to post a comment and share your gift giving ideas with everyone.

3 comments:

  1. I don't have too many family heirlooms,but there are a lot of collectors that I buy for at Christmas, so I often give gifts that I have obtained at flea markets, auctions and antique stores. I have given everything from a glass firetruck candy container from the '40s, vintage Queen Elizabeth Wedding tin from '50s, Depression-era art glass, antique sewing box, etc. Maybe one day, the gifts I give will be considered heirlooms.

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  2. When my Grandmother was a young homemaker it was popular to host tea parties and to have a collection of teacups and saucers in different patterns. When she passed away each of her granddaughters received one of these teacups.
    From this one cup I formed an interested in teacups and now have many displayed around my home. My Grandmother Rossi's cup and saucer holds a place of honor, of course. This Christmas season I am hosting a mother/daughter cookie exchange and tea party! From this one gift/heirloom has grown hours of delight and many memories of my Grandmother!

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  3. I love the idea of the tea party I may borrow that idea for Mother's Day. I actually had a collection of tea cups and I gave them away about 10 years ago when I considered them to be clutter. However, I know they went to a family member and a good home.

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