The Handmade Christmas Rundown

I wanted to take a hot second here to archive some of the gifts we made this year for family and friends.    I don't think a Christmas has ever gone by where we haven't made something to give.  I'm not sure why but it feels for me like it's integral to Christmas that you give something that was handmade from the heart.  If you let me get all theological on you, maybe part of it is that the ultimate Gift of was a total gift of Himself.  And everyday He gives us the work of His hands.  So it somehow seems more fitting to emulate that a bit in our own gift giving.  Or maybe I just like to make more work for myself, I don't know.  But I love that the boys are coming into their own with this, too.  The older two are at ages where they can take even more ownership of it and make something that is more personal and something that is actually a gift someone might want to get.  At least I think so...but I may be biased.
We started these back in November and had them finished several weeks ago which was REALLY nice to not have to think about them the last week or so.  

And right now, I'd ask all grandparents, Godparents, aunts, and uncles to politely click away.  You can come back later in the week, if you wish ;)

Are they gone??


John Paul took a painting class this last semester and I was so impressed with some of his pieces!  We decided to simply have him paint something personal for each set of grandparents and his Godparents.  I then put them in simple dollar store frames.

When we were in Chicago and driving downtown, we asked him what he was doing when he was staring out the window.  He replied, "I'm taking a picture of all this in my head so I can paint it for Grandma later."  And that's what he did.

Another set gets a camping painting because that is one of their favorite things to do.

A winter scene for the third set

And the Godparents get an abstract beach scene.  This one he actually did in class.

Michael made several wall hangings that I actually think are so great.   I kind of want him to make us one.  The first one he made was actual embroidery but that got to be too much for him so we ended up doing the rest with felt and simple sewing.  I helped with tracing several of the shapes and setting up the hoop but he did all the rest.  

And David and I worked on these stick star ornaments together.  The ornament link here is the same one that inspired the massive one I showed in our living room yesterday.  He helped find the sticks and glue while I tied.  I think they're really cute!  He made his Godparents a larger one as a wall hanging rather than an ornament.

I didn't have Luke do anything :)  I give myself a pass with the little ones.

As a family gift this year for all the siblings and Godparents I put together little combo packs of my homemade herbal healing salve and homemade lip balm (recipe here).  

I hope they like them!  I'm at least excited for myself because I love how the lip balm turned out and now I have all the ingredients on hand to keep a good supply of a copycat of my fave Burt's Bees on hand for years.  Which is great because it is a rare thing indeed for me to make it to the bottom of a tube without it either getting lost or toddler-mangled.  The boys like it, too, which is a bonus because a couple of them have inherited my eternally chapped lips.  The first batch tastes like chocolate (from the cacao butter) and is less minty than the real Burt's Bees.  Next time I'll add more peppermint oil but in the meantime Michael appreciates this milder version less than the "burning" one.

There are lots of handmade gifts to be passed amongst the siblings as well most of which involve cardboard, massive amounts of tape, and great veils of secrecy.  Those gifts that they make with no prompting (and which coincidentally busy them quietly for hours on end) warm my heart like nothing else.


  1. Those are wonderful gifts! I agree wholeheartedly about the handmade gifts. We even heard a priest mention it in a sermon once, how handmade gifts are giving a part of yourself and so much more meaningful than boughten ones. I also believe creating gives us joy because it is part of our nature; being made in the image of God who is Creator, we naturally are made to create each in our own way.
    We started making gifts many years ago, when our children were small like yours. Let me tell you, when they get to be teenagers and really skilled at handcrafts they will blow you away with their creativity!
    I love all the gifts your boys made. 'Taking a picture in your head' to paint it later is wonderful. Tell him he took a good picture, because he painting turned out lovely. I love the camping and snow and beach as well, and how they are all so different. The wall hangings are all beautiful too, and yes, your family members will be very pleased with all of their handmade treasures. Great job, Mama! And God bless you all!

    1. Thanks, Kimberlee! I totally agree about the creativity being a participation in that image and likeness. I'm so impressed that he can take pictures in his head, too! Me, I have to take these actual real pictures before we give them away or I won't even remember he did them two months from now!


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