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.
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 Stjärna. 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.