One of my favorite things about this Christmas season was making and buying handmade gifts for my family. Having accepted that I can't do it all (and frankly, I don't want to either) I found great joy in supporting other artisans and crafters. I echo Heather's sentiments, "It feels like this almost entirely mail-ordered holiday is even more meaningful".
For our family and a few friends I made hard lotion bars and lip balm. Something small and easy to mail. Someday I might get around to posting a lotion bar recipe, but there are lots on the web.
I didn't get these out in the mail in time (choosing peace for the month instead of stress) so they will be arriving for New Year's gifts. Accompanied by a handwritten note on Laurent's art cards. Taking the time to write an actual letter in a card - that can be called a gift, right?
Not everything given was handmade but where I could I happily purchased from local and not-so-local vendors. Celine's leg warmers came from an etsy shop owner in Latvia!
One of my favorites was the woven dish towel I gave my mother. I picked it up at the Marché Public de Noël earlier this month. Weaving, as a folk art, is alive and well in the Gaspésie, with local guilds and looms set up in community centers around the region. Something I hope to investigate one of these days.
My "big" handmade gift was this Pocket Pixie I made Brienne. With help from Celine and Laurent I was able to finish it a couple hours before gift opening on Christmas Eve. Thanks Celine for all your help.
I also managed to sew a cover for Laurent's iPod using leftover from my felted mitten project.
Brienne's Bitty Twins got new outfits (from great-Nana), also found on Etsy. Brienne just loves that sparkle.
Celine blessed her sister with embroidered stockings for "the twins".
And without a doubt, my most treasured gift from the holiday, a made-by-Celine apron. I do thank our parents for the funds to help purchase our ski gear - I treasure that also!
Earlier this month I casually (or not so casually) mentioned to Celine that I needed a new apron. There followed secret sewing sessions at night.
Celine is a bit of night owl and I'm early to bed these days so I'd listen, as I fell asleep, to the machine whiring while Celine chatted with her dad. Talk about a bedtime lullaby. I am so proud of her and happy to be wearing a one-of-kind Celine creation.
Not handmade, but definitely in the creative vein, our kids' favorite toy of all, Lego. Laurent has been saving his money for months and contributed significantly to his own Christmas gift. An aside: we set a budget for the gifts, a fairly low one at that. If the kids want something "bigger and better" they can contribute some of their own funds to make it happen.
These weren't the sum total of the Christmas gifts in our house. I'm not really a "list everything you get and give" kind of person. These were just the creative gift items that I managed to photograph during our Christmas holiday.
If you want to read an excellent and detailed post about giving thrifted, re-purposed and handmade holiday gifts check out Nicola's Christmas giving post. Such a thoughtful and talented family!
Next up in my Christmas remembering - food and play. Because what's a holiday without food, drink and computer video games?