This time of year I find that most of us are needing less not more. Less things to buy, less events to go to, less items on our to do list. And with small children there can be even more pressure, as we are still not sleeping, still trying to keep laundry clean, and often eating our meals over the kitchen sink. Having a “handmade christmas” is a holiday tradition that helps my family keep things simple and have a mindset of “less” instead of feeling the need for “more, more, more” that advertisers constantly bombard us with this time of year.
This tradition of “making” christmas started with my family, my mother really. I was one of 5 children and growing up we moved around a lot. I don’t know how my mom did it with 5 small children at home, constantly moving around. But I remember my mother was always so creative and resourceful. We would make a lot of our Christmas decorations and gifts, and this taught me that we do not have to look outside of our homes to find beauty or joy. That it is something we can create within our homes. That we all have the power to bring beauty into our lives and others regardless of our budget.
Now that I have a baby and a toddler I have learned that Christmas traditions and plans have to be much more flexible. So flexible. That the things we make are more about the time we spend together making memories than the final outcome. As a mother, the tradition of making decorations and gifts with my children means the process of engaging with my children and doing a hands on project with them is more valuable than anything I could buy them.
One of my favorite Christmas quotes by Peg Bracken says that “Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry christmas”. This is what I hope my children gain from all of our crafting and making. That their presence is a greater gift to give than any present.
Below is a list of few items you can pick up from the grocery store that we use for some of our “handmade” Christmas projects. Remember, these projects are more about the process than the product. I hope you have a Happy Handmade Christmas!
- cranberries (fresh not dried)
Easy project ideas:
- Cranberry Popcorn Garland for the christmas tree. (All you need is a needle and thread. You can have children “sort” the cranberries and popcorn for the garland.)
- Dried Oranges. (Use these to make a garland, hang as ornaments, or use when you wrap presents. The only supply you need is the oranges. In the kitchen you’ll need a knife, cutting board, and baking sheet. Have children blot sliced oranges with paper towels. Then bake at 200 degrees 4-6 hrs. Let cool until dry. String with twine.)