For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved making things. I come by this honestly, with grandmothers, grandfathers, parents, aunts, and uncles who are creative souls, whether they’re cooking delicious food, building furniture, painting, sewing, or producing all kinds of homemade treasures from scherenschnitte pictures to stained glass windows.
Their creations fill our home, especially at Christmas. Our trees are bursting with homemade ornaments. The walls are graced with Grandma Marilyn’s quilted appliqué scenes, and her signature 3-D découpage pictures are placed on tables and shelves throughout the house. She makes ornaments every year, and my favorite, the blond skater I named “Katrina,” is nearly as old as I am. One year, Grandma Charlotte, a gifted seamstress, made exquisite handcrafted Santas for all her daughters, daughters-in-law, and grown granddaughters, and mine has a place of honor in the Santa collection. And there are snowmen. Lots of snowmen, including this little wonder Lexie made when she was six.
Grandma Charlotte gave me her American Girl doll, Kirsten, and I cherish the beautiful clothes Grandma made for her, including a St. Lucia dress. Grandma had dementia at the end of her life and those of you who have a loved one who’s suffered from it know how cruel it is. But, as with even the hardest things in life, there were moments of grace. Like the time we brought along a box of her doll clothes on a visit. Grandma didn’t remember making the clothes, but she could see they were exquisite. “I made this?” she said, fingering the cloth gently. “Yes, Grandma. Isn’t it beautiful?”
My mom makes beautiful things, too, but her Big Thing is music. She’s always been in choirs and my childhood was filled with her wonderful singing. Making music is my favorite, as well, but I do love to knit. And every now and then I take a dip into the crafting world. I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a bit obsessed with this pinecone elf I made for the Christmas activity booklet that goes along with THE ADVENT BOX. He was inspired by the pinecone elves Grandma Marilyn made back in the 1970s. He’s just so darn cute.
There’s something about the holidays that invites creativity. Making homemade gifts to share is a big part of it, but maybe the darker evenings and colder temperatures that make us want to stay in also inspire us to find ways to create coziness and warmth in the winter months.
Do you have something special that someone made for you at Christmas? Do you find yourself feeling extra creative this time of year?