On the Joy of Making Things at Christmas Time

Peanut, Wearing a Handmade Hat (Thanks, Carolyn!)

Peanut, Wearing a Handmade Hat (Thanks, Carolyn!)

One of the things I love about Christmas is making things. Don’t we all? Even more than during the rest of the year, there is a special joy in making holiday gifts for other people. Every year, I make some (but not all) of my gifts. Julia and her friends make the lion’s share of their gifts to each other.

At our house, making takes many forms.  The classic one is a child-made Christmas tree ornament, and these are my all-time favorites, including the angel made from a clothespin and a coffee filter and the candy cane made from beads and a pipe cleaner shown below.

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Rudolph the Gumdrop-Nosed Moose Dude

Rudolph the Gumdrop-Nosed Moose Dude

This category also includes those who are technically grown-ups but still young at heart!

Tree Made By Jan

Tree Made By Jan

Friendly Faces Crafted by Uncle Bill

Friendly Faces Crafted by Uncle Bill

Photograph By Karla

Photograph By Karla

Vintage 1960s--Made By My Grandma Marie

Vintage 1960s–Made By My Grandma Marie

One of a Set of Four by Pat

One of a Set of Four by Pat

Tim, Julia, and I like to make our Christmas cards when things aren’t too busy. (The linoleum block below shows a stamp we made to create cards a few years ago. I am quite sure we’ll use it again one day.) Other kinds of making at our house range from sewing, quilting, and knitting; to making cards, personal one-of-a-kind books, and framing photographs and drawings; to crafting edible delights. In our circle of friends and family are also are those who make dolls, turn wood, and shape things from stained glass and ceramic tile.

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Things made especially for us (or made and passed down by a family member or friend) have a special charm all their own. They seem to have special longevity, too. Here is a view of a tablecloth created with cross-stitch, augmented with gold-colored metal thread, and mounted rhinestones. It was made by my mother’s Aunt Helene. I never met her, but my mother always used this tablecloth at Christmas, and now I do, too.

Aunt Helene's Handiwork

Aunt Helene’s Handiwork

More than the objects, though, the memories of making, giving, and receiving homemade gifts are the ones that have the most staying power. Here’s a series of three ways our trusty treadle sewing machine (a Franklin, from the 1930s ,always parked in the dining room), contributes to our Christmas pleasure.

Treadle as Credenza

Treadle as Credenza

Treadle as Work Table

Treadle as Work Table

Treadle at Work: Making Pillow Cases as Gifts

Treadle at Work: Making Pillow Cases as Gifts

I collect stories of handmade gifts, so, if you are so inclined, please let me know of a gift you made yourself, or a gift your cherish because of the giver’s handiwork.

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2 thoughts on “On the Joy of Making Things at Christmas Time

  1. For a friend who walks her dogs in the dark on a street with no sidewalks and few street,lamps I made a reflective vest from pre-quilted silver metallic cloth, then made it reversible to hunter orange. I added rainbow rick rack for a feminine – campy touch. Bound the edges in Federal Caution Yellow. You could see her in the darkest cave. Did I tell you she wears a long black coat? That I made matching outfits for her dogs?

    Mr. Peanut something stylish for MN is in the mail to you. You will always be First Dog on my list!

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