December 2020 - Handmade with Love

December 2020 - Handmade with Love

We all know the holidays will be different this year, but if you are a child (or have the heart of a child) the season will still have an abundance of magic and wonder.  A pandemic can’t stop that. Nothing can.

So let’s soak up the magic, shall we?  I’m planning on squeezing every single drop out of it this year.  I need it, my family needs it, and my 3 year old daughter is bubbling over with it.  So, we hung the decorations a little earlier than normal this year, our Motown Christmas Album is on repeat, and the fairies are coming to visit in all sorts of ways… well, I’ll be honest, mostly in the dark chocolate kind of ways…

I’m determined to make this holiday special - we are fulfilling wishes, doing charity work and desperately trying to connect to family with whom we haven’t been able to see for almost a year now.  

One way that we are trying to make a more heartfelt holiday season for those who are far away are personalized gifts.  I’ve scoured Etsy with a fine-toothed comb and picked up some great gifts for the family all while supporting small businesses.

We are also crafting up a storm here in the mountains, and I must say I like it five gajillion times more than going to a mall and although Grandma’s verdict isn’t in yet, I can guarantee she’s going to love what my daughter has created for her.

Here are some wonderfully easy, personal and ‘tug at the heartstrings’ gifts I encourage you to try this year.  Perhaps a handmade gift might become a new tradition for your family, because we all know that if it comes from the heart, it is sure to be full of magic.

Handmade Gift Ideas
My sister started this tradition when her kids were around 2 years old.  Every year she would put out a canvas (wood block or recycled cardboard works too) and ask her kids to draw a picture of the recipient and them.  My nieces are in their late teens now, but I still have these portraits.  The best part is that my sister glued an “Artist Bio” onto the corner of each portrait.  It included their name, age, favorite something -or-other and something they love.  Absolutely Adorable.

Lights! Camera! Magic!
We currently live in a world that is so dependent on technology to see and connect with those we love.  Let’s use it to our advantage to bring the magic of season right to the screen.  Here’s an idea:
Have the whole family create a play, musical or documentary about the 2020 Holiday Season.  Write the script, create costumes, practice, and perform it for your family on a zoom call!  Other family members want in on the action?  Maybe do a talent show or a sing a long!!  

Unless there is a Grinch in your life, I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t love a framed poem or story written about them by the little one in their life.  Encourage your child to talk about the person receiving the gift.  He/She can write down words that describe the person (or can dictate them to you if they are not printing yet).  They could write an acrostic poem, a limerick, a rhymed poem, or a short descriptive poem.  I like to ask questions like “What does Uncle say to you?  What does he smell like?  What do you like to do with him?  What does he look like?” Their answers can easily turn into a prose poem.  

My Uncle
He says “You are my little cricket”
My uncle smells like a campfire and sticky marshmallows
I like to pretend we are monsters together.  He says ROAR and it makes me go crazy.
Uncle has a nose that looks like a strawberry and his hair is like seaweed.
My Uncle.
Move over Shakespeare!
Afterwards, the child can decorate the page, or better yet, buy a wooden frame that your child can paint.  

There are so many ways to find wonder and magic during the holiday season.  No matter how you decide to give, try to use your imagination, get crafty and have it come from the heart.  If you need any inspiration, just take a long loving look into your child’s wonder-filled eyes.  The magic is there waiting for you.

Sue Bell