This post is so long coming because I was too lazy to get up and take a picture. True story.
So when I was in college, my small group had an ornament exchange. I thought it was dumb. Seriously. I begrudgingly bought my ornament and went. Only, I got the BEST ornament there. Seriously. My ornament was homemade.
Now most of our stuff is in storage this year, but I can describe it to you. It was an old school clothespin painted green then snipped short branches of greens were slid in to make a tree. Glue on some ornaments, a star, and a base to close off the open space, and you have the best homemade ornament I’ve ever seen at an ornament exchange.
So fast forward a few years, and I’m married and mom. I’m a little sensitive about a few things – one of which being family traditions. When I was a kid we had tons, especially for Christmas. But after we moved, we lost more and more of them. Part of it was us getting older too. Hubs parents got divorced and they too lost a lot of their traditions. So I want to build a few, simple traditions for our family. I don’t want to stress about it but I want it to be something that can be maintained in the years, babies, moves, etc to come.
So far, we’ve really only agreed on one – and that is to do Christmas Eve at home together as a family. Then we’ll take turns visiting grandparents on Christmas day. If in the event that we move, and our parents no longer live within an hour and a half of each other, we’ll spend every third year at home.
Someday I’d love to have camp outs by the Christmas tree and bake a birthday cake for Jesus. I’d love to go look at lights as a family and read the Christmas story together. But those things will fade as our kids move out. And that’s ok.
I’ve thought of one thing we can keep doing for as little or as long as we want.
Remember that story I told you at the beginning of the post? Well, that ornament had come from a family ornament making party. All of the women folk got together and made ornaments. Everyone made enough to keep one for the grown ups and each kid in the family, and then they made enough to be the “gift exchange” gifts. The neighbor, mail man, teacher, etc. And that was it. They spent the day together. Then had something to give that hadn’t cost a fortune.
Enter my take on it. I think this is a great way to get the kiddos involved in making some Christmas gifts. I am including them on every gift we give this year to see how they are received to gauge for next year. I also give all my God-babies ornaments, and this year instead of buying, they are getting these (which is unfortunate for my Goddaughter who was getting a pretty sweet Hallmark series, but O well, I like this more.)
I love this because frankly, I have some obligation gifts every year. (I don’t want to discuss it so don’t.) And for these gifts, I almost always do something homemade, usually a baked good. But this year, I tried out the ornament thing. Next year, I might move to that completely.
Also, I have kept one myself, and dated it, and made one for Lemonade and dated it. Hers went right into her ornament box. So in approximately 20 years, she’ll have all the ornaments we ever made together ready to grace her very own tree.
And to answer Hubs who so generously said “What if our kids don’t want crappy, 20 year old ornaments on their tree?” I said, “Well, we’ll have the memories and the love behind making them.” And I meant it.
Now for our first year of this tradition, Seester, Maj, and I made about 35. They cost about $1 a piece to make. And they turned out fabulously. I can’t wait to see what we come up with next year!
Our little reindeer ornament!
-bells (I bought the rusted ones and didn’t have to paint them!)
-red pom poms
-googly eyes (we even did different sizes for fun!)
-white pipe cleaner
We glued the nose and eyes on. Used 1 pipe cleaner cut in half then in smaller pieces for the antlers. And put a hook through the bell hanger. Seriously, that was it. So easy. So crafty. Very affordable. And SOOOO super cute.
Anyways, it’s a fun tradition. I wrote the year on the back of them, so the kids I force to own these ornaments will know which year they were made. And that’s that.
Now to see if other people like them.