Homemade Christmas

To whomever decided that we should do “Homemade Christmas” for this year’s family gift exchange, I’d like to say a big fat hairy, “Thank you.”

At least that’s what I was saying, through gritted teeth, as I was finishing up my gift on Christmas Eve. Not to mention that I had known for a year that I was supposed to make my gift. And I only started making it the week before Christmas.

Whose idea was this anyway?

Oh yeah, that’s right. Mine. Heh heh.

It wasn’t SO bad. Last week we all began to encouraging each other, desperately… with old Christmas adages. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (RIGHT?!!) “It’s the thought that counts.” (RIGHT?!!)

I loved the responses I got when I told people my family was gonna do Homemade Christmas. An older couple who came into the restaurant declared, “That’s a WONderful idea! What are you going to make?” They were clearly enamored with the idea of a young person bothering to make something with their hands.

A young coworker of mine heard about our idea, and he asked what I was going to make for my sister. I tried to play it cool, “Oh, you know, well, my sister’s married now, so… you know, I thought I’d make her some pillows for her couch. Yeah, I wasn’t really sure what to make… you know.”

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I walked back out to the dining room, and I heard him exclaim to the servers around him, “Dude! That would SUCK!!!” (I think he meant that he couldn’t imagine having to make a gift. Or having to receive a home-made gift.)

But you know what? Who really needs another gift card, you know? Do you ACTUALLY need that new Hollister hoodie? And a new video game? Really? Little children are starving in India. If we raised money to send them money for food, they couldn’t even keep it down because dysentery plagues them because of the dirty water they drink due to bad sanitation. But, yeah, I mean, I want a new membership to Urban Active, too. Really?

So, I whipped out the (quite hidden) Pinterest-y me, bought some pillow forms, and ransacked some local thrift stores for some cool material.

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For this one, I sewed up an old pillowcase and then printed a giant Times New Roman initial. Next, I raided my vintage button collection for old red buttons and sewed them on in the shape of an “M” for several hours. (I made it through THAT monotony by listening to Father Gilbert.)

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I created this pillow from a refurbished extra-large Old Navy polka-dot top.

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Abigail had passed on this awesome skirt to me several years ago, but it never quite fit me, so I cut it up and sewed it into strips. Once I had one long strip of fabric, I sewed up the pillowcase. (This is SO hilarious, because I cannot sew at all!)
My *favorite pillow is: the sweater pillow. I took a second-hand Lands’ End sweater, hacked off the sleeves, buttoned it up, flipped it inside out, took in the sides, measured the pillow, and sewed up the top and bottom. Then I unbuttoned it, flipped it inside out, and covered the pillow. Viola!

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After I finished making it, Mom was flipping through the January issue of Good Housekeeping and found the exact same pillow (well, one that was designed by Laura Ashley anyway) and it was listed for $74. I think they copied me. I should probably sue.

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Not only was I wielding a needle and thread this Christmas, but someone actually caught me in the kitchen. (Shocker, I know).
A highly inaccurate domesticated image of myself: here I am making scrambled eggs for Christmas brunch. Oh… what? Egg shells?

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These next photographs demonstrate the healthy holiday eating habits of our family. (You ARE ignoring the piles of Christmas cookie containers, there, aren’t you?)

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After brunch, carols, the Christmas story, and sharing together, we came to the revealing of The Gifts, Which I Made Everyone Pose Awkwardly With.
1) From Abigail to Mama: a Precious Moments counted cross-stitch.

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2) From Mama to Papa: a denim blanket (made from his old jeans), and framed photographs of The Ancestors.

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3) From me to Abigail: couch pillows!

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4) From Josh to Rachel: a wedding website! Cool.

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5) From Jeremy to Josh: eight hours of manual labor on “The Man Cave.”

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6) From Rachel to me: a sister bag! (She chose some of my favorite pics and then used iron-on transfers.) (I also got an iTunes gift card for the win!)

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7) From Papa to Jeremy: a hand-made wooden shelf (classically wrapped in a sort of hipster, masculine design with newspaper, electrical tape, and yellow ratchet straps). Thanks, Dad-in-law-to-be.

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And that, folks, was my family’s Homemade Christmas gift exchange.
Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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