Family Christmas Gifts 2013

A cozy Christmas morning before the sun rises...

We do one bigger gift for each of the boys for Christmas.  This year Brian and I worked together (if by together you mean he spending hours cutting and sanding in the garage and me sitting hours at the sewing machine) on what has already proved itself worth the measuring, the cutting, the multiple trips to Hobby Lobby and thrift stores, the tears and choice words spilled over the sewing machine (Really.  I don't know what I'm doing.), and the agonizing over incredibly vague internet patterns.

Here they are:

Our own little fellowship

I made the cloak, tunic, gauntlets, and thrifted some black dress pants.  Brian forged and painted Andruil.  All the elven clasps were bought from Amazon here crazy cheap and surprisingly well made.

Cloak and tunic sewn.  Belt and pants thrifted.  Helmet made by Brian - the main helmet shell is a plastic costume helmet from the dollar store with the visor removed, the decorative pieces are thick cardboard painted and glued and fastened with a brad, the ribbon from the store.  Brian made that monstrous axe and yes, I said the same thing that you probably just thought.  Oh my.  That is really...big.

This boy is in love with his Frodo outift.  Cloak sewn.  Vest and pants thrifted.  I did find the best brown corduroy overcoat, too, but it's several sizes too big still and he won't wear it.  The ring of power bought here (also crazy cheap) and the chain I had in my jewelry box.  Brian made Sting.  

Vest we had.  Pants thrifted.  He didn't get a weapon but has been more than happy to use the old wooden sword we already had.

They've never seen the movies but Brian is reading the books to John Paul who then narrates the story back to his little brothers the next morning.  They've been having an absolute ball the last few days turning our home into Middle Earth.

A few days before Christmas I thought about having the kids pick names next year for sibling gifts like we used to do when I was younger.  I get such a kick out of seeing the things they make and/or buy for each other but it does weigh on me a bit those last few days before Chirstmas.  That said, after seeing the awesome things they ended up gifting each other, I'm not sure what we'll do next year.  I've never thought to photograph the things they've given until this year and I wish I had done it each year.  It's stuff like this that makes Christmas with kids awesome.

John Paul's gifts for us:

A handmade "explorer belt" for Michael to hold his magnifying glass, lighter, knife, and flashlight
A pair of earrings for me (I know.  Heart melted...also, does anyone know if putting actual paper clips in your ears causes incurable infection?  Thoughts?)
A "bouncy guy" for David
A sock puppet for the Luke
He and Michael also put their shoveling money together to buy a phone case for Brian which was a great idea that they came up with all on their own.

Michael's gifts for us:

For me, Michael and Papa put together some homemade dark chocolate peanut butter cups (and um, yes, that jar was full when I got it.  I have no idea what happened.)
A set of lighters for John Paul.  Yes.  I know.
A peg doll nativity for David.  Jesus, Mary, Joseph, a shepherd, and one wise man.
A little truck from the thrift store for Luke.

David's gifts for us:

Handmade targets for both John Paul and Michael
A bracelet and ornament for me
And a ring for Papa ;)  He had this ready for weeks.
He went in with Michael on the truck for Luke.  (Michael: "But he hasn't paid me yet.")

Luke is still pretty clueless about the whole concept of gift giving so he gets a pass this year.

One of my favorite traditions is getting each of the boys a special ornament each year that captures something about them from that year:

A periodic table for John Paul.  Oh my goodness, he was SO surprised and excited.  Love my little nerd boy <3 

A crayon box ornament for Michael.  He loooooves all the colors and the flip top.  I knew he would :)

And David finally got the green tractor he's been asking for for months ;)  Almost every day he asks Papa that if he sees a tractor store or a man who sells tractors when he is at work if he would please get him one.  The picture is blurry but his face says it all.  

And a St. Luke ornament for our little Luke.

The annual photo calendar for Brian

I normally use stockings for things that they each might need - socks, underwear, pencils, toothbrushes,  etc.

But a periodic table poster did show up in someone's..."Finally!"  (?)

And this year's birthday cake for Jesus - gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting :)

Brian's been off the last few days which is absolutely wonderful and we were able to get to Mass this morning for the feast of St. John the Apostle.  When we got home the boys were surprised to find games and puzzles sent by Grandma and Grandpa under the tree.  So today's been a quiet (ha! Quiet is  so relative these days...) day of games and snacks and making plans for the rest of Christmas.  Hope you're all having a wonderful Christmas, friends!  


  1. Oh, Mary!!! The Lord of the Rings costumes are amazing! What a wonderful gift for the boys to have them and for them to have been handmade with such love (and tears?!?!) You and Brian did a fine job, I can't wait to take a peak in person! Merry Christmas!

  2. Wonderful!
    as far as the earrings.... could you get some earring blanks at the store (Michaels, acmoore, whatever is in your area...) and hook the ones John Paul made onto those? I am thinking the paperclip might be a bit too big to put in the ear; but they are beautiful. I am impressed.
    Merry Christmas

    1. I think I may have to do that. I'm wondering what I can find in my jewelry box that can be repurposed! They did fit in the holes, though, crazy enough!

  3. Mary
    You and Brian did an incredible job with the costumes!!!!!!

  4. Wonderful pictures! The costumes are amazing. I think I will re-read the Lord of the Rings books. They were so much better than the movies. This time I will picture the boys playing their parts. The simple gifts that the boys give are so meaningful and sweet. I Like the candy cane J. Thanks for the great idea list for the boys. It is easy to get the right gifts when you have insider info. Love to all.

    Grandma in Chicago

  5. The costumes are amazing! So adorable.

  6. Great costumes! I loved this post!! So sweet...

  7. Amazing!!! We're going to try to do a handmade Christmas next year - I always like what we're able to create more than what we can buy. But you guys took Christmas to a new level! And I looove John Paul and his love for the periodic table - I guarantee we'll be there in a few years :)

  8. I am speechless at it all. Inspirational!!!

  9. Before I had even finished reading your post I was scrambling for my Pinterest button to PIN this!!! THIS is AMAZING!!! What a over the top WONDERFUL gift idea. I'm gushing, can you tell I'm gushing - WOW, I love love love this!!!

  10. Try coating the paper clips with clear nail polish, several coats, drying between coats. Then, if they will CAREFULLY fit in your ears, wear them for only the most special occasions, like Friday night dinner or birthday dinners (ie for very short periods of time). After a while, year or two, you can hand sew them to an ornamental shape felt piece with a safety pin sewn on the back and wear them as a brooch or lapel pin with the justification that they are so special (WHICH THEY ARE!) that you want to protect them and keep them forever! Love your blog, over from Amongst Lovely Things. Sheryl in Puget Sound

    1. Welcome! And thanks for the ideas! I did put them in for just a moment when he gave them to me and couldn't believe that they did fit in the holes! He used some vintage buttons from our button jar and they actually are pretty neat looking. I'll have to rummage around my jewelry and see if I can find a new back for them!

  11. Those outfits are awesome! I have to steal that idea. Even my older guys would love it. My boys got compound boys from their grandparents for Christmas and they are out at the range now pretending to be legolas. :) We are all in agreement that you shouldn't wear the earrings... perhaps you could purchase blank earring hooks and re-craft them? Adorable though. I would definitely find a way to make them work somehow because that guy should not be disappointed. lol! The Jesus cake is beautiful.

    1. None of them ever pick Legolas which is weird, right? Especially since they all love to shoot! I would pick him...except I'm the only one who can play Galadriel and Arwen :)

  12. Those costumes are amazing! My boys love to pretend to be the Fellowship . . . if I show them this, they will beg me to make them their own and I am not crafty at all.

  13. Those costumes are absolutely incredible! Merry Christmas to you all!


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