One of my favorite things about the Amish is their commitment to create homemade items. From food, quilts, crafts, furniture, clothes, they do it all by hand in their homes, barns, and workshops. The traditions and knowing how that is passed down by them makes up a richness lost in today’s mainstream, plastic, throwaway mindset.
Think about all the times you receive and purchase Christmas gifts. How many of those items do your children still play with? How many of those items did you re-gift, donate to Goodwill, sell in a garage sale, give, or throw away? Or maybe you stuffed it high on a shelf or in the back of a closet to gather dust.
The commercials on television would have us believe it’s more important to have numerous presents wrapped under the tree, with every item on the Christmas list purchased, ready for a perfect Christmas morning, or we’ve somehow failed to deliver. I’m here to remind you, and myself, this is not true.
Of all the gifts I’ve received through my . . . years (thought I’d tell, didn’t ya?) the one toy I still own is the doll I received as a toddler. Each year, my mother made Tiny Baby a dress from the leftover material of whatever she sewed my clothes from. My dolly and I had matching outfits until I was too old to play with dolls. I still have all of those dresses, and my daughter now plays with both my baby doll and her wardrobe.
These outfits hold scraps of lace and fabric. They aren’t beautiful by Disney’s standard, but they’ve outlasted any other store-bought item. And I treasure them all the more because they were from the hand of my mother. It’s not the monetary value of a gift, but the heart behind it.
Some of my favorite gifts have been my husband’s grandmother’s Christmas box full of pickled vegetables, popcorn balls, strawberry jam, and homemade candy. We enjoyed the contents for months afterwards.
In my new book, Pioneering Today: A Homemade Christmas, I share how to get back to the true meaning of Christmas, tips for homemade baked goods when you’re stretched for time, homemade affordable gifts people will use and like, and how to give the gift of yourself to your loved ones with special planned activities. With more than thirty-six recipes, homemade gift ideas, and decor, you’ll experience a simple Christmas with the joy the season was intended to include.
Homemade Chocolate Sauce
(excerpt from Pioneering Today: A Homemade Christmas)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup sugar
8 tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 cup boiling water
¼ cup warm milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Blend melted butter with flour. In a medium saucepan over low medium heat add sugar and cocoa powder. Whisk in boiling water and milk. Let milk get hot and remove pot from stove. If you let it boil, it may thicken up like pudding, which is excellent over ice cream, but harder to make chocolate milk. Serve hot or cold. Put in a glass jar and store in the fridge if you happen to have any left.
And because you’re a reader of Not Quite Amish, I want to offer you an early Christmas gift. I’m giving you a 20% off coupon to use when you purchase your copy of Pioneering Today: A Homemade Christmas. Use coupon code: NOTQUITEAMISH at checkout. Offer expires November 3, 2013.