Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Homemade Christmas: Heritage Crafts

Several years ago, our Christmas budget was extremely tight. There was no way I could afford to buy presents for the entire family. I debated about only doing gifts for the children, but it took the fun out of the holiday. There's something about seeing someone's face when they open a gift. Even adults can't hide the excitement.

So I compromised. While I bought for the kids, I went homemade for the adults. My dad is diabetic but loves white chocolate macadamia cookies so I experimented with recipes until I found a version that was tasty, but wouldn't run his sugar up. The chocoholics in the family got homemade fudge. Some people got plants that I had grown myself.

For genealogists and family historians, a homemade Christmas is a perfect opportunity. Heritage crafts can help you educate the family on the ancestors and provide a unique one of a kind gift.

Caroline Pointer of Family Stories has came up with several ideas for heritage gifts including coasters, ornaments and a story jar.

Julie Cahill Tarr of GenBlogJulie has made digital scrapbooks for her family.

Heather Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy brought her family photos to life in the form of Christmas cards and calendars. She also came up with a neat idea of heritage china plates that can be displayed year-round.

Not very crafty? Don't worry. Marian Pierre-Louis of Marian's Roots and Rambles has came up with an idea for you: a personalized deck of cards. Lorine McGinnis Schulze has another simple idea, a quick and easy photo album.

While these gifts were all made using a FlipPal Mobile Scanner, it's not required to do them. A regular scanner will work too.

Need more ideas?

Why not a family cookbook? Get relatives to send you their family's favorite recipes. Intersperse pictures of ancestors and notes about the family with the recipes. You can print it yourself and put in a binder, or self-publish.

While digital scrapbooking is great, not everyone is computer-literate. Put together a family tree scrapbook Kits are available for purchase or your can make your own from scratch.

Put together a family history video. Include interviews with older relatives, photos and video of ancestral homes.

Do a photo collage. Print out copies of family pictures and arrange them on a piece of poster board. Add a frame and you have a quick and easy heritage gift.

If you're handy with a needle, have family photos printed on fabric and put together a quilt that can be displayed on the wall.

Get the Kids Involved

Kids love crafts. This year, why not take the opportunity to teach them about their heritage while they make gifts for the rest of the family?

EnchantedLearning has several family tree crafts for kids. They can build a family tree from construction paper or fill in one of the printable books for a unique gift that will be treasured for years.

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