As a busy Mum, sadly Christmas can seem like an ordeal to be lived through, rather than a time for celebrating. All too easily it can feel like the true values of Christmas have been lost in the commercialism and blatant spend, spend, spend marketing messages we’re subjected to, as early as now! And when it comes to choosing Christmas presents for all your kids and their friends, the ‘love’ for Christmas can be lost very quickly. We have great intentions; we set out determined not to spoil and over indulge our kids, but we end up helpless to control the gift giving, especially by doting grandparents. Do you mean well, but end up with a long shopping list of brand specific toys your kids demand from Santa, which you distribute to family and friends to abide by!? Gifts with Values of Yesteryear I’m old fashioned. I know I am. My vision of Christmas presents for children are of presents that have substance, which they will cherish for years, that they can make themselves, not watch on a small screen or that require plugging in. I’ve seen gifts opened in a flurry, paper thrown wild, recipients long forgotten and the present itself discarded. “It’s the wrong version”, “He’s already got that one”, “She loved this last year” – words we all dread hearing. One of my favourite Christmas gifts I was given as a child (from Father Christmas of course) was a French knitting doll. It was really from my grandmother and she sat me up on her knee, and threaded it up as I looked on in delight. That was my Christmas Day taken care of. I had to be called twice to come and sit at the table with everyone for Christmas Day lunch with all the trimmings. And if my memory served me well, I had my French knitter under the table, growing ever longer as my potatoes grew cold! Pass on those craft skills I made a great many coasters that year. Coasters, doilies, snails, picture frames, a necklace – all kinds of imaginative things that my mother frantically dreamt up as I proudly produced yet another length of knitted yarn and wanted to start the next! The gift gave me hours of happiness. It didn’t cost a lot and certainly didn’t need charging or plugging in. I still have it over 50 years on and have watched countless other little girls get similar enjoyment from it. It wasn’t a fad, I didn’t outgrow it in a week. Instead it was a special gift that reminds me of my grandmother, of her infinite patience with me, and the incredible craft skills she passed down to me. That same year, I remember she taught me tapestry, cross-stitch, knitting and sewing. I loved that time we spent together then, and now all those years later, I get to cherish those memories again. Most importantly, it triggered a lifelong love of craft for me and now, as I watch craft in its revival bringing together Mums, daughters and granddaughters, as they share this special time together, I am even more grateful. I hope a few little girls will receive knitting Nancy’s in Santa’s sack this year and that many a coaster will be created, in special times shared between generations of women. Crumbz is a craft and haberdashery shop run and owned by Kay Trembath in Healesville in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. Kay designs her own range of vintage designer aprons, as well as selling a range of gorgeous craft items. She stocks all the craft kits of yesteryear she loved as a child, and they make great Christmas presents. www.crumbz.com.au 03 5962 6635.