Hello! My name is Shannon Taylor. I'm a long-time writer and editor from Minnesota surprised to find myself on an island in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, three younger children (the oldest is attending college in Chicago), and two dogs.

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So what if instead of thinking about solving your whole life, you just think about adding additional good things. One at a time. Just let your pile of good things grow.
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Winter Fun

Countdown to Christmas Part 3: Sibling Gifts

For those of you just joining in, every month on or near the 25th I’m posting ideas to help us get ready for the coming holiday season. Just to be clear: I’m not trying to be cute. I just want to enjoy Christmas a little more. By spreading the insanity throughout the year, I’m hoping to feel a little more peaceful during that crazy time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.

Last year we started a new tradition that I learned from Design Mom: Sibling Gifts. Our kids have always bought little gifts for each other, but I loved Gabrielle’s idea of having each sibling make something for all the other siblings. The only downside is that it added a whole new layer of stress. So. If you decide to have your kids make gifts for their siblings, prepare in advance. Decide what you want to make and then gather as many of the materials ahead of time as you can. I’m scouting ideas for next Christmas, but here are a few things we did last year if this is something you’d like to try.

Will made the Santa and snowmen bars from Martha Stewart Living for his chocolate-loving big brother. They were super easy to make and turned out really cute, don’t you think?

Will also made these festive gloves for his big sister. I helped him by holding the pieces in place, but he did the actual sewing himself. Lexie was very pleased. Who doesn’t like to jingle at Christmas? I picked up the gloves at JoAnn Fabrics for a dollar. You could use any color gloves you like with any adornments you can think of.

Will made a tutu for his little sister using the tutorial from Gabrielle. This project nearly did him in. I heard “Are we done yet?” about a dozen times. He ended up laying on the floor just handing the ribbons to me to tie on. We slogged through, though, and Lily was thrilled with her gift.

Lily made chocolate lollipops for all the other kids. We bought the Wilton chocolates that you can melt and sticks at JoAnn Fabrics. They didn’t have Christmas-y molds, surprisingly, so we bought those at Michaels. Lily did a great job with these. She was so careful pouring the chocolate into the molds and they turned out really well. She made enough to share with friends and cousins, too.

Andrew made bath bubbles for his sisters. As you can see, we went with simple packaging. The girls were delighted. You can use any recipe you’d like, but here’s the one we chose:

Foaming Vanilla Honey Bath

1 cup sweet almond oil (you could also use light olive oil or sesame oil)

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup liquid soap

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Mix everything together, then pour into a plastic or glass jar with a tight-fitting stopper or lid. Be sure to shake before using.

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  1. Stephanie says:

    Talk about organised! I don’t think I’ve bought all last year’s Christmas presents yet! Some lovely ideas here, which I will file away safely for December.

  2. Shannon says:

    I’m glad it looks organized, Stephanie, because I’m not naturally organized at all. I have to do things like this just to cope. I think a lot of us are in the same boat because we’re still getting Christmas cards in March! It’s never too late.

  3. Shannon says:

    Also. For the candy-bar wrappers, we just used computer paper and red construction paper (not the fancier paper the instructions called for). I happened to have a scalloped-edge paper puncher around, but Santa’s beard could be cut out by hand and would look just a cute.

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