Monday, January 4, 2016

Making Christmas Great

Almost twenty years ago my family opted to stop buying traditional Christmas gifts and start making Christmas gifts. The decision to do this came at the junction of two things: my mom had lost her Christmas spirit when her brother died close to the holiday and we had become a family of adults who were fully capable of buying what we wanted all year. It started as a one-year challenge, but we had so much fun that first year, we have been doing it ever since.

Here's what people made this year:

As pretty as the Mason jar candle that my mom made is, I wish you could smell it. I will love to burn it but hate to see it go.

My older sister made hot chocolate mix and homemade marshmallows. Before I saw these, it never even occurred to me that marshmallows could be made at home! She always has the best product packaging too - look at those great labels!

My younger sister made super groovy Christmas ornaments. These beautiful, glittery balls involved Mop-n-Glo as an ingredient!

One of my stepdaughters made a hemp washcloth that is a natural exfoliator. It is a gorgeous plum color and came with homemade soap.

My dad and stepmom made this glass block present light. Red and white Christmas lights inside the block complement the ribbon.

The big win this year was from my aunt. I keep calling it the bread guillotine. Put a loaf of bread on the cutting board inside and let the grooves guide the knife for straight, even slices. I have tried it on pumpkin bread pictured here and also a French baguette - both worked great! Need thicker slices? Skip a groove or two!

Making Christmas gifts has brought some wonder back to the holiday. It is always very exciting to see what everyone has made. It is equally fun to hear the stories of the things we learned along the way. Often we have taken classes or read books or watched videos as we mastered a new craft. Each round of gifts is so fun to open because you never know what will be inside.

I typically focus on things that happen in my classroom when I write for my blog. I love so many elements about our maker Christmas that I know I would like to bring those things to my classroom. Maybe this will be the year!

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