Inexpensive Christmas Gifts

You can make your own inexpensive Christmas gifts by assembling holiday ornaments that take little time and little cash.

| December 1994/January 1995

The holidays are a time of love, family and joy. We all sit around, eat cookies, talk of times past and exchange gifts. Oh yeah. Then there's the annual sweating bullets because we just realized we can't afford gifts for Grandma, much less the new gift-toting neighbors.

That's where Anne Sneary comes in. She's the fiber specialist who showed me how to make these holiday ornaments. Originally she was to show me how to make glamorous Japanese temari balls. While they were truly exquisite, they required the learning ability, sewing talents and dexterity of a brain surgeon. I have neither, so I asked if we could perhaps modify the project. Anne, being the accommodating type she is, came up with the pleasing ornaments that I believe any 'ol person could make.

The whole thing was a piece of cake (easy enough for your kids to make while occupying them for long stretches of time). I also liked the fact that what you see is what you get; you don't have to worry about what it will look like when it dries. Mistakes are easily fixed, although it's pretty hard to make any in the first place.

Not only do these ornaments make low (almost no) cost gifts, but they'll spruce up your own tree without producing the drooping branch effect that weightier ornaments cause. No worries, and something for the neighbors. Although my family celebrates Hanukkah, not Christmas, I can assure you that Grandma Silver will definitely be receiving her share of ornament balls this holiday season.


2 1/2 inch to 3 inch Styrofoam balls (under $1) coned
Merino wool fiber (found at weaving and/or spinning supply shops for $2 an ounce; I figure you'll need 1/2 ounce per ball and a few, festive colors) Note: Merino is the finest form of sheep wool.
soap flakes (Ivory is a reliable brand)gold or silver metallic thread and needleglue and glitter (optional)  


1.Fill a Crockpot with hot water, add soap flakes and stir.

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