Monday, December 5, 2011

Handmade Holiday

December is a month I take off from business to focus on my family- spending time with them, traveling to see those out of town, as well as creating gifts for them. In our family we also celebrate the Christian meaning of the holiday season: The birth of the Jesus the Messiah and what that meant to humankind.
It has always saddened me the way the entire nation seems wrapped up in intense materialism and driven by the "I WANT!" complex. In our family gifts are heart-felt and useful, yet minimal. Our children know who Santa Claus is, but we buy gifts for one another to celebrate Jesus' birthday, not a jolly old elf in a sleigh. Each family has customs and traditions that they love or hate, they keep the old and create new ones, and enjoy the holiday in their own way.
This year I am attempting to emphasize hand-made with my family. There is so much time and love knit into each stitch and sewn into every fiber of a hand-made, heart-felt gift that a handmade Christmas really makes sense with our way of celebrating, and I thought I'd make a special blog to share the patterns and ideas for handmade holiday celebration and gift-giving in case anyone else is looking or needs some suggestions.
Since my husband and I have been married we have not had a mantle or any kind of suitable place to hang stockings, so we've simply skipped that step. Any small trinkets were wrapped and but under the tree, an fruits and candies were in baskets and bowls on the kitchen counter. Just this past week, however, we moved into a lovely little farmhouse out in the country, and thought we still don't have a mantle, the staircase has a bannister perfect for hanging stockings- and so we shall. This means, though, that we need to get stockings! Enter this lovely free pattern from Knitting at Knoon Designs: Felted Christmas Stockings. The yarn required will easily cost less than $5.00USD each, and knitting will take a couple of hours. I am SO excited to get these little projects done after the kids are in bed at night so they remain a surprise until Christmas Eve.
© Emily Ivey 2010
 Another kid-friendly festive decoration I enjoy is Emily Ivey's "Smitten" holiday garland. What is more winter- and kid-appropriate than a bunch of tiny mittens?! The tiny knits can be done with any of my scrap yarn so it really will cost me nothing and will take an hour or two each. Other sweet ornamental holiday knits that are scrap-stash-busters and take an hour or two at the most are Owl Puffs and Stj√§rna. Add a simple yet festive sewn table runner and a hand-made wreath from the left-over boughs from our tree-trimming, and we will have a beautifully decorated handmade holiday that cost less than $20 and will last for years.


 Will you be including any handmade elements in your holiday? What's your favorite holiday tradition? Leave them here(one post for each answer, and YES, you may have more than one answer) a along with your email address. I'll employ random.org for a drawing of the entrants on Saturday, December 10th. The winner will receive a hand-knitted sample of the three ornament patterns I linked above. 

14 comments:

  1. I made several tree ornaments from fabric this year. Some birds as well as star, heart, and tree shapes with polyfil stuffing and ribbon hanging loops. Unfortunately they are the most popular ornaments on the tree and only spend 10% of their time on the tree. At least I know they are loved by the kids! rebecca342 at gmail dot com

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  2. I have been trying to do something handmade each Christmas since I started sewing again. This year I had planned to make a set of colorful bean bags for my 2 year old, but she saw me working on them and wanted to help pour the beans in, so she got them early LOL. We are going to buy her some toy farm animals and "build" a barn out of cardboard. I also make DH a pair of fleece pj pants each year.
    For decor, we make a "countdown to Christmas" paper chain and we are planning to make some Sculpey clay ornaments for the tree. Oh and when we put the tree up, my 2yo was upset there wasn't a star on top, so we made one out of Playdoh and stuck it up there :) But we also did buy a couple "big" presents this year, so not EVERYthing is going to be handmade...

    lillyhimrod@gmail.com

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  3. When my hubby and I were first married, we were college students, and of course very poor. So for our first Christmas I made simple star ornaments to hang on a shelf in our little apartment. They weren't very fancy - just cheap yellow construction paper, a cut-up cereal box, some foil and some thread for hanging - but they helped to brighten up our space and didn't cost a thing since I already had the supplies. I still have those little stars and try to incorporate them into our decor every year to remind me of our first humble Christmas. :)

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  4. I'm making many of the gifts this year. Dyed velour scarves for my sister, Mom and mother-in-law, handmade chocolates and brittles for the men folk, and waldorf inspired dollies for my girls, along with an indoor hopscotch mat.

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  5. we don't really have any traditions in our family but I'm hoping to start one this year of reading the story of the nativity on Christmas Eve, with just me, my husband and our girls.

    And I forgot to post my e-mail address in my previous post: g_adelle@yahoo.ca

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  6. Everyone in my family, with the exception of one person, is getting handmade gifts this year! It's great - the gifts are useful, ooak. Also, it tends to cost a lot less :)

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  7. growing up we believed in santa...but always celebrated the birth of Jesus above anything else. We would read the Christmas story out of the Gospel on Christmas eve as well as attend a Christmas Eve service. We'd also read T'was the Night before Christmas (that was my job - i had it memorized). My dad worked many christmas's...so we'd have to wait to celebrate til the afternoon...so we'd watch christmas movies and such until daddy got home!

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  8. I knit 3 Christmas stockings for our family so far. We have 1 more stocking to go, but its pretty neat to day, yeah I made that stocking. It can become an heirloom someday. rebecca342 at gmail dot com

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  9. I am making the family stocking this year and ornaments for the tree. DD is so excited for her stocking because she loves mommy's "yarn". :)

    Tater_flowers@yahoo.com

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  10. What I look forward to around Christmas time is homemade hot cocoa! We have it every year and it is something I have shared with my daughter. We also read T'was the Night Before Christmas every Christmas Eve after putting out Santa's cookies and milk. We get in our pjs and sit around the tree and read. I can't wait!!!

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  11. Connor bought me an ornament he made at school it'll be on our tree for forever (well until it gets broken). Plus we (really me) have made many of the gifts we're giving this year.

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  12. My favorite holiday tradition is the 12 days of Christmas. We pick 1-2 families and leave gifts for them for 12 nights. It's not until the last night that we let them know who it was, we either ring the door bell and run or borrow a niece to deliver it for us.

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  13. I do a lot of handmade stuff now that I have kids ;) my 3 year old is enjoying making ornaments and drawing Christmas pictures for everyone in the family. kdegruy at gmail dot com

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  14. My favorite holiday tradition is getting the nativity scene down from the attic and telling my daughter the story while we set up the display. Her birthday is near Christmas so she loves that she and baby Jesus almost share birthdays ;) kdegruy at gmail dot com

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