I always felt that it was important for our children to understand the meaning of giving and putting something of them into what they gave; also we didn’t have much money in the beginning: but even when we did, I continued the tradition of home-making all our gifts. They mean so much more than just going out to the store and buying something just because it is the done thing. We would start a few weeks before Christmas and usually a few of the children’s friends would spend a few weeks with us working on their presents. A lot of parents forget how important it is to children to have a gift for the grown-ups, and since the parents are usually the ones buying them they don’t buy a gift for the children to give back to them. We would bake and make cookies that they painted or make cheese balls with a pack if crackers or decoupage pictures on wooden napkin holders to be used as letter holders on the desk. Every year we would do a few favourites and a few new things like sand-candles or pillows. They would make their own wrapping paper with potato-prints or ironed leaves. The kids always got up to their elbows mixing something while learning about measuring and math and how to taste things and add ingredients that suited their fancy. A great learning experience and some very funny conversations took place, as usual when you get a group of children together. We had lots of fun making all of the things and most of them were treasured by the grandparents or eaten as the case may be. Sure it made a big mess but we would listen to music and the kids were great at helping to clean up. The gifts all looked beautiful and the children had such a sense of accomplishment and pride in what they had made. It made them understand the meaning of Christmas, or at least what it meant to me, which was to give something of yourself to someone you love. I know it takes a lot of time and patience but if you have it, it is well worth the time. I hope my children follow the tradition because not only was it fun and a learning experience but they got the true feeling of giving.