Monday, November 30, 2009

Introduction to a Handmade Christmas

Christmas has not always been a time of delight and joy for me. When I was younger and less able to appreciate my blessings in life, I thought Christmas was just a big fat reminder of everything I DID NOT have. I wallowed in my prediction that there would not be enough love, gifts, generosity, money, invitations, etc. and recruited others to do the same.

I worked hard to make "Bah Humbug" fashionable. My ridiculous self-centeredness made every flippin' Christmas carol feel like a giant raspberry from the universe.

Before the season was over, I would end up flush with all kind of gifts and blessings but I would be unable to enjoy them. I was pretty certain that the only reason I got what I got was because I sustained a level of prepared disappointment and experiencing any sort of joy or gratitude might jeopardize the possibility of getting more...

In other words, I was a spoiled young woman and no matter how much I got, it would never be enough.

But being a mom has totally changed this pattern of behavior for me- thank God! I work very hard each year to shelter my children from the commercialism and the emphasis on "getting" by doing a Handmade Christmas.

Last year baking Christmas Cookies

Last year, I was blessed to discover a whole like-minded movement which has made this tradition even more exciting. I have found so much inspiration from bloggers like One Crafty Mumma and Me and My Thoughts where there are tons of great ideas and dozens of tutorials.

This practice of a Homemade Christmas focuses on the joy of giving and encourages creativity. I can not tell you how much my kids thrive on making gifts for others. Maybe this story will... Aidan came home from school a week ago with a huge list of toys he wanted from Santa. There were well over $1,000 worth of gifts written in his cute 1st grade handwriting and he seemed pretty sure that if he sent the list to Santa, he would get each and every one of them. I explained that Santa might bring one item on his list but not all of it.

He said, "but lots of the kids at school get everything on their list and I get in less trouble than a lot of them."

Every year we make a homemade Chicken Pot Pie together

I told him that Santa brings gifts to match the traditions in each house and at our house we focus on the giving, not the receiving. He was not thrilled with that answer, but I went on to explain how in our family we may only get one or two big presents from Santa but we spend the whole month of December doing things to celebrate Christmas like decorating, making gifts, ornaments, cookies and most of all, spending time together. Other families may get lots of "stuff" but their Christmas is just a morning. They wait, wait, wait, until Christmas arrives; rip through the presents and then it is all over for another 365 days.

"Hmmmmmm" he replied. He was clearly analyzing the data.

The next day we started getting our Christmas groove on by drinking gingerbread tea, listening to Christmas carols and doing Christmas crafts. The kids made all kinds of ornaments and paper chains and not once did I hear someone say "I'm bored!"- (a Christmas miracle!) While we were cleaning up, Aidan said "I like the way we do Christmas mommy. I LOVE doing crafts with you. When can we do it again?"

"Next weekend, and every weekend after until Christmas" I replied. He smiled huge and yelled "Yeah!" while he jumped up and down. "I don't need all those toys mommy... just the Lego's"

So here are a few of the goodies I have started on for gifts this year (just to wet your whistle). Tutorials and more pictures will follow. Subscribe to my feed so you know when new articles are posted because I have a lot of fun and easy crafts that are earth friendly, easy to do and inexpensive too. Welcome to Homemade Christmas everyone!

The handles on this bag are made from an old scarf

Burlap and cotton reversible shopping bag

This is a ring

This is a pendant with a tiny spool of thread, pin and button


  1. YAH for handmade!! I'm trying hard to instill that spirit in my own house, but with two small kiddos, it is hard. My Christmas wish: to hear my son say what yours did: "I like the way we do Christmas mommy. I LOVE doing crafts with you. When can we do it again?" - LOVE this!!!

    Happy holidays everyone!

  2. Jilliene-
    I sent this on to a friend who always bemones what she cannot give her kids for the holidays. Hopefully it will be a "wake-up" call to her. I too do a hand-made Christmas. It gets harder the older the kids get, but we still try!


  3. I love this post! love the answer that "Santa gives gifts to match the traditions in each house." Well said, Mama! And what wonderful lessons and traditions you are teaching your babes! xo Hugs to you all.