I can wait no longer!
I so desperately want to be in the holiday mood, and the past two days at work—which have been good, but insanely busy—only made me want to come home and play Christmas music and watch old movies and bake sugar cookies. At work, it feels as if everyone is rushing around trying to get the bulk of their semester’s work done within the next few days so that, they too, can get into the holiday mood.
I can wait no longer—I have to get into the Christmas season! I am not going to feel bad about it; 1) I see that a lot of other people on Twitter and Facebook are doing the same and 2) the Christmas lights are already starting to come out in our neighborhood. This is where the Nana would say something along the lines of, “If all of your friends were jumping off a cliff,” and I would stick my tongue out at her in return.
Which is about the sum total of the snarkiness I’ve ever been able to give to the Nana, to be honest. Tiny, little Irish women can command more respect than you may believe.
I am going to bring you along with me, into the holiday season, if you’d like. I cannot even convey how excited I am—this year will even be the first year that we host Christmas dinner at our house for both sides of the family.
Needless to say, J is cooking. I may bake pies. I make a damn good pecan pie. J has promised me a HAM! Oh, I so love ham.
Several years ago, J and I started some family traditions involving the holiday season. Born partly out of our non-traditional spiritual beliefs, and partly out of necessity, we decided that the best thing we could do for our sons was to refocus the holidays; to give our children an alternative to rampant consumerism. To place the emphasis on giving, and not receiving.
In simpler words, we just couldn’t afford it. We couldn’t afford to give our sons half a dozen gifts apiece, and we couldn’t afford to buy the latest gadgets or the expensive technologies. The plus side of not having the money to buy everyone on both sides of the family a sweater they might never wear anyways—you have to really think. You have to get creative. You really have to focus your attention on making something meaningful for your family.
Oh—we do go the handmade route, too. Somehow it just means more when you give something to someone that you made yourself—despite its imperfections.
There have always been school pictures involved in our tradition—we hand them out the family during the holidays. This year, I’ll have the boys paint picture frames in winter scenes before placing pictures in them, and I will have them wrap the gifts and tag them.
The boys excitedly picked out the paint last weekend at the craft store.
In the past, we’ve also made pottery, bath salts and soap, candles, lots and lots of Christmas ornaments (including some that wonderful glass ornaments that J made—hand-blown) and tons of food. We make Christmas cards and scrapbooks out of more things than you could imagine, and we’ve even had the children make pieces of art for each family member.
The whole thing is part of a tradition I am so proud that we’ve started in our family, and stuck to, no less.
In the coming weeks, you’ll see a few giveaways, and you’ll see some other handcrafters showcased, and you’ll see some ideas that you may want to incorporate into your celebrations this season. Finally, you’ll see some charities that I think are doing very good things for humanity who have Christmas campaigns; perfect for small gifts for co-workers, etc.
For giveaways, I will be randomly selecting the winners from comments (and by random, since I am a research nerd, I do mean literally random by generating random number sets), so get ready to comment! Share the giveaway news with your friends! If you are a person who loves making handmade gifts and products, or you have a developing cottage industry—feel free to share that info with me as well. If I like it, I will share it! The more, the merrier.
I just can’t wait any longer—can you?