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Homemade Christmas by Tina Barseghian

I know, I know, it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but for those of us who craft-it is actually a little late to start thinking about Christmas. This year is going to be a tight Christmas for a lot of families. In these terrible economic times, I see folks everyday at the library who are struggling to make ends meet, and the crush of the materialistic pressure of an American Christmas can kill someone's spirit faster than pee in the punchbowl. The upside of this kind of economy is the return of the simple life-focus on friends, family, and small, meaningful traditions.
I was lucky enough to get a copy of A Homemade Christmas, and this book is charming.
I have read hundreds of craft books, and many of them have been Christmas craft books, but this one is a complete guide to simple holiday traditions to make the holidays special. From decorating to gifts, all of the ideas in this book are 1. affordable and 2. simple. You do not need to be Martha Stewart to pull these ideas off.
Two original ideas covered in this book that I loved were the creation of "Practical Baskets" and researching public events for free fun and entertainment. Tina gives examples of the kinds of venues for finding these events. The baskets are filled with goodies like batteries, stamps, and sponges. Seriously, I would love to get one of these-so much cooler than yet another coffee mug or -gasp- one more candle I will only regift. The next time my camera needs batteries and they are right there in the basket, I will thank my lucky stars for the giver of this gift.
From Christmas origami to how to knit a quick cap-this is a complete guide to a simple holiday. I would love to give this as a gift to a newly married friend, or, let's face it, any broke grad school student I know (and that is all of them).
One final thing, the illustrations are really charming and cool.
Okay people, fire up the glue guns....

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