This past Christmas was perhaps the most special of any that I have ever known. We decided that my husband, children and I would make each other gifts instead of buying them. It turned out to be a wonderful lesson for all of us on giving from the heart.
My kids, ages 10, 8 and 4, of course were visited by Santa Claus and got tons of “store bought” presents from aunts, uncles and grandparents. And typically we unleash them in Target to buy yet another toy or trinket for their siblings and for myself and my husband, Kyle. But this year, we thought it would be a great idea to help cultivate their own talents to create something for each other, and really think about the person and the meaning of the gift. We are Christians and thought this would also be a way to talk about the original gift that was given to us in the birth of Christ.
It all seemed like such a good idea, that day in early November. But then reality began to sink in–three kids with four gifts each to make. That meant 12 gifts for Kyle and I to assist with in addition to the plethora of gifts that he was making for teachers (pottery) and the gifts I was making for female family members (jewelry). It became a bit daunting, but it was still fun.
Ian, Age 4
We began by asking each of the kids what they wanted to make for each other. Ian, my four-year-old, actually turned out to be the easiest one to work with. He knew exactly what he wanted to make and he had such awesome ideas. Of course Kyle & I pretty much “crafted” his presents but he contributed greatly to them.
For his sister, Julia, he said he wanted to make a “pillow with a sheep on it.” I had him pick out some fabric and I used some roving to “felt” a sheep and we even found some ribbon with sheep on it. Then I took a photo of Julia and Ian together and printed it out on iron on material and made a pocket on the back. This was her “dream pillow” and the pocket was for her to write down her wishes and dreams. I sewed the pillow but Ian helped me with that by pushing the pedals and he helped me tie the ribbons, etc.
For my oldest son, Declan, Ian wanted to make a sword so Kyle took over on that count and made a sword to Ian’s specifications. He crafted it from wood and then made a traditional leather wrapped hilt.
Ian told me he wanted to make a video game for his father but we decided to make a “movie” instead and Ian sang, told stories and told things he loved about his father, all while dressed in his Thomas the Tank costume!
Julia, Age 8
Julia makes me something every day. She draws pictures for me, makes cards for me or will take tiny scraps of yarn and make bracelets for me. She is a natural born handmade gift giver!
She decided to paint something for Kyle and for Declan so I bought her 2 canvases and she painted away.
Then for Ian she wanted to make a train so Kyle took her into the studio and she worked on the lathe and with other tools – then she painted it. It was really nice – the wheels move and everything. For me, she made a little purse out of a basket and made me some ornaments – one I especially love with our photos in it.
Kyle bought a glass ornament and helped her print out photos, etc.
Declan, age 10
Declan is so loving and he wants to do wonderful things for people but he had a bit of trouble thinking of what to do. But I knew he loved to watch me torch and hammer things in the studio, so for Julia, I suggested he make a hammered pendant.We originally decided to make a pendant with a bee stamp and the word “happy” but my bee stamp was a bit hard for him to manage so we just went with a flower and the word “happy” on a copper disk.
Declan knew he wanted to build something for Kyle but wasn’t sure what to do. I found a kit in Lowes for a pencil cup/photo frame and he built and painted that.
For me, he made a beatiful pendant that Kyle helped him refine, paint and fire. It is so amazing!
Kyle & Heidi
This year I made Kyle a belt buckle. This is the first bucklet I have made (and maybe the last – ugh!). The trickiest part is the findings! I tried making the top part out of nickel silver and copper but it was so heavy so I used aluminum and copper and just used cold connections.
Kyle made me a yarn bowl to trap my yarn in while I knit – but it didn’t survive the kiln so he is remaking it – I’ll post a photo of it as soon as he remakes it (which should be by 2012).
It was a wonderful experience making these gifts. Our children thought about others in a way I don’t think they had before and the true meaning of giving of themselves became apparent. Those were the most special gifts I have ever received – except for the gift of salvation.Filed under Inspirations & Musings | Tags: family gift giving, gifts from the heart, handmade gifts, kidmade gifts, making gifts for christmas | Comment (0)