But one of the difficulties I have found is that whilst the most delightful parcels of handmade goodies have been coming through my door, I can't share their contents with you because you never know who might be reading. However, I have made a little exception today because Princess Bunchy and I were so excited to receive a little package from Chrissie at Niminy Fingers.
Chrissie very kindly included a little present for a princess, for which we are both so very grateful - and in fact, Princess Bunchy's adorable felt bracelet is so lovely that I feel quite envious!
The other bit of handmade goodness in the picture below I will leave you to guess at, for one of you might be receiving it for Christmas - but just admire the beautiful way that Chrissie has presented it in a handcrafted muslin bag, and ponder on what it might contain. And you can go and look at her Etsy shop, Make Your Presents Felt, to find out what she makes, and guess what is in this little bag, and then wriggle with excitement at the thought of what might appear under your Christmas tree very shortly.
The blue bowl is also handmade, by a potter called Lars Gregersen - this was a present from the dear Seaside Landlady (for which I haven't yet written a thank you note, horribly remiss of me, and I hope you will forgive my omission, dear sister-in-law!) - and looks very beautiful on the much loved and used old meat plate.
So my thought for today is: why not make your Christmas shopping easy and special - don't venture from your computer, save your petrol and parking charges, and buy your presents from small-scale self-employed crafters rather than global corporations. You can be sure that you will not be exploiting anyone, you will be helping a small business, you will receive a prompt and personal service, and probably make a friend in the process. Not only that, many of these people will make custom orders in particular colours or styles so that you can give a truly original present.
I can't show you any more pictures, because I don't want to spoil any 'surprises', but I can thoroughly recommend all of the following, whose wares are as now stacked in my present cupboard, (or are on my Christmas list - are you listening, Head Chef?). I think I have put everyone down, but let me know if I have missed you out - everything is tucked away in bags and boxes, so I might have overlooked one!
And for all those men in your life, who like all things techie and practical, try The Centre for Alternative Technology shop - it might not be handmade but at least it is green and ethical: a great source of presents for boys of all ages.
My theory is that presents should be useful, beautiful or consumable, and bring joy to both giver and receiver - for me this is the way to achieve that, and I hope that you, too, will see this as a way to a stress-free and ethical Christmas, and a small way to counterbalance all those mountains of plastic tat, and overwhelming consumerist frenzy, which leave us all the poorer in more ways than one.