Friday, December 25, 2009

Homemade Holiday

Our family celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah, in a very cultural way. Mike grew up Catholic, and I grew up Jewish. Now, we attend a Unitarian Universalist Church, which suites our family and the way that we want to raise our children.

Anyways, celebrating all of these holidays involves lots of gift giving, all at a time when I am trying to simplify our belongings and declutter our home. So, we decided that Hanukkah would be completely homemade. What fun this ended up being! Maddie, in particular, immediately generated a list of people that she needed to make gifts for, thought about what each person would like, and got to work creating! Mike spent his share of time down in the basement working with wood and creating a fabulous work bench for the children (and something for Aunt Jen and Uncle Adam, which they will receive on Sun!), and I spent a lot of time in our new sewing room. I made a fleece blanket, an embroidered bag, and a stuffed animal for each of our children, a quilt for my mom, and other various gifts. There were also home dipped beeswax candles and ornaments, canned applesauce from a local orchard, yummy cookies, scarves, bags, drawings and paintings, bracelets, ...... all in all, a wonderful experience and the beginning of a new tradition.

But, Santa is another story. I worried that he and his elves would bring more of the toys that we are trying to stay away from. I was pleasantly surprised this morning.....his elves did a wonderful job of knowing our family's wishes! It was a quiet Christmas day (no battery operated toys!) filled with new crafts and hobbies....wood working for everyone, more bead work for Maddie, painting for Ben, a snap circuit for Amelia, and lots of dog related things for Leah to fuel her new passion. Thankfully, there was lots of time for sledding too!

It has been a lot of work (and some headaches late at night when my eyes hurt from staring at fabric).....but it was worth it. Our goal of simplicity in the new year has already begun!

My hands guiding my mom's quilt through the machine.

Oh, and a big thank you to my parents....who really listened when I said no more plastic dolls, battery operated cars, etc. Instead, we are seeing the Wizard of Oz tomorrow, the Philadelphia Orchestra in the winter, and The Lion King on Broadway (CAN'T WAIT!!!) in May. Thanks, mom and dad....for listening to my wishes and for all of the thoughtful gifts!