As expected, December has been a flutter of activity but not in it's usual fashion. There have been a couple parties and lots of Christmas spirit but no shopping sprees, no fire drills about getting holiday cards out and no running around trying to "do it all."
With the state of the economy we have decided to have a Hand Made Christmas inspired by Melissa Goodsell at One Craft Mumma. We decided that our kids were young enough that we could create some new traditions without them objecting. We have always done hand made gifts, but this year we took it a step further and our house is exploding with Christmas Spirit.
Our cover story is this... We told the kids that Santa contacted all the parents and said that Christmas had become too much about toys that kids see on commercials rather than about love and the spirit of giving. He and the elves decided to give 3 gifts to each child - one of which would be hand made by Santa. Some kids may say they got 10, 20 or more gifts from Santa, but theose extra presents are really from parent's who are afraid their kids will get upset with just 3 presents from Santa. Santa also said that everyone should make gifts for the people they love so that their heart will be in each present.
My kids did not have an opinion one way or another at first, but once they started making gifts, they really got into it. We've made clay beads for jewelry, clay figures with magnets for the fridge. We have framed pictures they drew and we have used the bind it all to make journals and notebooks covered with their original artwork. We have decorated Christmas ornaments with glitter and we have a few more projects we are going to work on before the big day.
You might think that a hand made Christmas would take more time and cause more stress than the usual drill, but to our chagrin - this has not been the case. We have been working on the gifts after the kids are asleep. It has given us more quality face time and been the source of lots of laughter. I am making a popcycle stick dollhouse for Eva and the 2nd story has had a few structural issues that left us with a big case of the giggles.
We have supplimented the bulk under the tree by also purchasing recycled items which is great for the environment and very inepensive. We picked up 10 Disney videos from Savers for $1 each and I scored a old school tape recorder (just like the one I had as a kid - about the size of a shoe box) from the flea market for $2. The hunt for quality pre-owned gifts is quick, fun and there are very little crowds at Savers, goodwill and the flea market.
I am so happy that these tough times has resulted in a renewed Christmas spirit in our home. I am grateful that I have a family that feel the same way. I cannot help but wonder if there is a wonderful opportunity for Americans during this recession. Perhaps we needed to be cornered into conservation, minimalism and simplicity. Maybe the universe is helping us count our blessings by removing the things that keep us from seeing how good life is without the accessories.