Under the Microscope: Our Christmas Tradition

Some of my most popular blog posts have revolved around my family’s homemade Christmas gifts – a tradition that started more than 12 years ago and is still going strong.

For some ridiculous reason, I never shared the wonderfully great gifts that everyone made last year. (I guess I hate it when people actually read/enjoy my blog!)

The only reason I thought about these gifts now – in late October – it’s exactly two months until we get it on again.

Cue the stress!

For those who don’t know about this annual tradition, my mom came up with this creative idea to help us save money.

It has evolved into so much more.

I once wrote: “Its frugal intentions were quickly replaced with intense competitiveness, year-long bragging, and immeasurable stress, but that’s what makes our Christmas mornings a blessing of love and creativity.”

Without further ado…here are our 2011 “masterpieces” (only 10 months late):

• DAD: Wooden key/cell phone holder, complete with hole for your charger cord; 

• MOM: “Emergency Meal in a Bag,” which included a recipe and all the ingredients for dinner/dessert in a pinch….each family got two meals;

• SUSAN (my younger sister): Handcrafted scarves, koozies and leggings made out of old sweaters;

• MIKE (Sue’s husband): Tin of baked sweets, including fudge and cookies (for a former MLB player, he can bake his tail off);

• MARY GRACE (niece): Jewelry, using rocks from the Brazos River;

• CAL (youngest nephew): Handprint magnets; 

• ALLISON (my youngest sister): Flavored vodka – everything from raspberry to jalapeño; she also made creative “play boxes” for the kids – a robot, a doghouse, a bird house, etc.;

• SCOTT (Allie’s husband): Waterproofed cell phone holder for our drunken adventures in the Brazos River;

• TK: Reusable grocery sacks (everyone thought she cheated and bought them);

• CRASH: Handprint ornaments;

• JOHN (my brother): An elaborate water balloon “station” – complete with 11 spots to fill up a water balloon. It was an amazing assemblage of PVC pipe, spigots and hoses;

– – –

My gift last year was sub-par in my opinion. I usually try to blow it out (“Familyopoly”) or make everyone cry (devotional journal).

As I was brainstorming possible gift ideas last NOVEMBER, I put our tradition under the microscope. Despite the annual stress and angst, I kept coming back to one common thread: Love.

I realized that’s the reason we all get stressed out about our gifts – and work so hard on them until the last minute. That’s why from late September until Christmas Eve, we are giving ourselves ulcers and paper cuts.

So, I simply put my Photoshop skills to work and made personalized “Love” signs for each family.

Wait…there’s more. Click to see my homemade gifts

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