‘This is What Christmas is All About’

This is one of my favorite blogs to post every year. Why in the world I usually wait 4 or 5 months to actually write it is beyond me.

Regardless, this is my annual opportunity to share the wonderfully great Christmas presents that our family made this year…er…last year.

Here are a couple of initial notes:

• This was the 14th year of this holiday tradition;

• We had two new “elves” in 2013, Raleigh Myers Rameriz and Ily Anabelle Myers. They might have only been 5 months old, but they did not disappoint with their creative prowess!

• My oldest niece, who is 8 years old, made her gifts all by herself – from start to finish. She knocked it out of the park!

• We voted on Best Gift again, and I’ll simply say…I WON AGAIN.


Go me!

I’m No. 1!

Santa’s got NOTHING on me!

I was kind of glad I won this year, because I stepped way outside of my wheelhouse to pull off this year’s gifts. I used power tools that I had no business using – from a drill press and a nail gun to a table saw.

Homemade Christmas GiftsNeedless to say, it’s a Christmas miracle that I didn’t lose a finger or shoot an eye out.

This year, I made handcrafted garden shelves.

I started with raw wood and built a four-drawer tower to hold gloves, gardening tools, etc. If someone wanted to, they could also plant something small in one of the drawers.

I also bought a handful of seeds (veggies and herbs) to help everyone kick start a garden.

As I was finishing up my project – distressing the wood and securing the knobs – I started asking self-probing questions. I was working alone in an un-insulated barn with temperatures well below freezing. It was almost midnight. I was cold and tired.

The main question:

“Why am I doing this?”

I actually asked the question out loud to break the silence AND remind the barn mice that I was still there.

It didn’t take me long to answer my question.

“This is what Christmas is all about,” I whispered to myself. “This amazing tradition makes Christmas morning magical.”

I smiled.

I thought about all the amazing gifts that everyone has made over the years – from my dad’s yo-yos and sling shots to my mom’s blankets. I thought about Susan’s family charades and Allison’s paintings.

I thought about the in-laws – Mike, Scott and TK – who married into our tradition and didn’t miss a beat.

I thought about all the times that my dad has gotten choked up on Christmas morning – mainly because he’s so proud of his kids and their amazing creativity.

I smiled again.

And even though I couldn’t feel my fingers, I kept sanding and wielding the drill like I knew what I was doing.

– – –

So, without further ado…here are our 2013 Christmas “masterpieces:”

Homemade Christmas GiftsDAD: Personalized blocks with family photos.

MOM: Shabby chic centerpieces and hand-painted dish towels for the girls, and she went philanthropic on the guy’s gifts…

She assembled eight “homeless goodie bags” for each of us. Each bag had things like a water bottle, toothbrush, chapstick, protein bar, socks, etc. They are designed to be handed out if we are approached by someone down on their luck and asking for help or money.

TANYA: Aprons, crafted out of men’s dress shirts.

CRASH: Hand-crafted snowmen, using blocks of wood and refurbished crafts.

SUSAN (my younger sister): Toiletry bags for the boys and makeup bags for the girls.

She also made a kick-butt teepee for the kiddos to play in.

Homemade Christmas GiftsMIKE (brother-in-law): Emergency bags for our cars, complete with jumper cables, headlamp, etc.

MARY GRACE (8-year-old niece): Picture frame with an artistic matt for recent family photos that we all took.

JAKE (5-year-old nephew): Oven mitt.

CAL (3-year-old nephew): Christmas ornament.Christmas Hat

SCOOTER (brother-in-law): Stenciled “BHR” stocking caps – for those cold trips to feed the chickens, ride in “The Mule” or just sit by the campfire.

ALLISON (youngest sister): Hand-stitched gloves with personalized messages for each person. TK’s said “DIY DIVA” and my gloves said “LIVE LIST.”

Allie also did a gift for the whole family, a graphically designed set of “Porch Rules.” (This was the real winner in 2013. It exemplified what this family is all about – especially line No. 3):

Christmas Porch Rules2



– – –

You know the WORST part about writing this blog post in late May? There are only 7 1/2 months until Christmas.

Fa la la la la, la la la la!







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