Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Handmade Holidays

A couple of years ago, the Mister and I decided to take the handmade pledge--we worked our buns off to only give handmade gifts. It was pretty difficult, especially considering that I grew up with Christmases of the requisite grotesque display of commercialism (which I absolutely loved as a kid, but which I wrestled with quite a bit once I had a child of my own). I think the desire to have a Christmas that represents what the holiday is about and fighting the lure of commercialism and gift-buying that is glamorized this time of year is one of the toughest balances to find. I think my own parents did a remarkable job, and I grew up with a lot more joy in giving than receiving, but I doubt my own abilities to instill the same values in my own children. Those doubts turned into skepticism about the need for the commercial aspect of the holiday at all. And so it was that we threw ourselves into a handmade holiday. It did, in fact, turn out to be one of my very favorite years we had celebrated.

Buying and making handmade items was a choice we made for personal, economic, and idealogical reasons, but I found it benefited our ability to experience the season they way we wanted to, with the true spirit of giving coming to the forefront.  Giving handmade forced us to think more thoughtfully about what to give to our family members, rather than choosing the fanciest gizmo that popped up in the ads. We poured our own time and energy into the gifts, making the thank-yous more memorable. And ultimately, we established a tradition that I hope will stay in our home.

Though our Christmases are not 100% handmade/homemade this year, we try to put an emphasis on creating things from scratch, repurposing used items, and being extremely selective about what we do purchase.  Each of the kids are receiving a mixture of mom- and dad-made items, used/repaired items, and store bought presents from "Santa." We also try to make donations in other's names as presents. Handmade presents feel more thoughtful to me, help me feel like I'm not just marching junk in a parade to the landfill, and give me hope that working and economic conditions can start to improve around the globe. It may seem small, but if you haven't already taken the handmade pledge, give it a try!

Though it probably isn't too much help at this stage in the game, I'll be attempting to post some of the items I--and the Mister--are making this year. For now, I thought I'd round up some links for you, just full of ideas for a handmade holiday.

Sew, Mama, Sew! : : : Ultimate Handmade Gift Guide

Craft Stew: : : 50 Handmade  Gift Ideas (Gift Ideas by your Skill)

Mother Nature Network: : : 10 Elegant, Inexpensive, Homemade Gift Ideas

Skip to My Lou : : : Holiday Craft Gift Round Up

(Not really a holiday list, but tons of fun ideas over at my favoritest blog, MADE)

Twelve Crafts Till Christmas also has a ton of fun ideas and LOTS of tutorials, especially if you have kids to make gifts for!

At any rate, Happy Christmas! Here's a few terrible photos of us putting up the Christmas Tree! Check back tomorrow for a Christmas Gift Tutorial of my own!


  1. I love how your 'terrible' photos are gorgeous! Your kids are just so adorable Kierra!!

  2. Your family pictures make my heart smile! Love you from a distance!


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