Thursday, December 24, 2009

Handmade Christmas

handmade Christmas

It's Christmas Eve, and all I have left to do is soak candied fruit in brandy for tomorrow's Christmas Cake, and bake cookies for Santa Claus. And stuff the stockings after the kids go to bed, of course.

My husband, on the other hand, left a great deal for today, and he may not get all his gifts finished by tomorrow. But what he did make is going to be really wonderful for Hypatia:

fairy house

These fairy tree houses sell for a lot of money, and our version here cost us nothing. The natural wood are branches my husband cut from one of our trees and then dried in our oven, and the platforms are all cut from an extra cedar plank from our fence. He even made a little table and chair.

My husband is giving Carbon a 20 foot length of rope and photocopies of a plan for a treehouse, so that is more of a promise of gift than something he can enjoy tomorrow. But he is going to love building the treehouse with his dad, so it will be good.

I love the idea of a natural Christmas, better for the environment and more personal, but at this point in the holiday I start to worry that the kids will be disappointed. They are not going to receive some mound of fancy stuff, they are not going to have a toy catalog materialize under the tree for them, and I worry they will be bummed about this.

All we have for them is this:

Carbon - the promise of building a treehouse with his dad, a quilted-lego-mat-with-drawstring-closure, and in his stocking a cardgame, two Harry Potter lego mini-figs, Harry Potter 1 on audio CD, art supplies, and candy.

Hypatia - the fairy house, a handsewn doll outfit, and in her stocking two fairy dolls, Winnie-the-Pooh and Peter Rabbit on audio CD, art supplies, and candy.

The excess of the standard American Christmas isn't what we want, but I still second-guess myself. Will the kids be happy tomorrow?


  1. Amazing fairy house! I think you've done a fine job of making the season special with all kinds of things, concentrating on more than just the gifts. We have a medium-sized holiday and the only snag we've ever hit is when she gets around public school kids. One year she excitedly told a classmate about her biggest gift and the girl replied by saying, "That's it?" She was sad for a day or two but then realized there was no reason to let someone else's reaction determine her happiness. Life lessons...

  2. OMG! I looooove the fairy house way more than I do the ones in catalogs. Looks AWESOME! Wish I was handy like that.

    I really related to this post. My kids were getting commercial gifts from grandma and grandpa (a camera for M and Heelys for K), but the stuff that came from us was handmade: a couple balance beams (one more challenging than the other), a stationary kit, writing practice books, a rope ladder...

    I knew in my heart of hearts that it isn't good for souls to do the whole blow-out, excessive commercial Christmas, but it is hard to go against the tide when commercial cultural expectations are so pervasive.

  3. Did they feel satisfied, do you think? Sylvia came out to: a stocking with three single-pack Playmobil toys, a little Lego Christmas tree kit, a few Plan Toys wooden fruits and veg, ink pads, an Only Hearts Club doll, and a model of a bat. Her wrapped gifts were a bought chicken puppet, a homemade doll quilt and a box of Plan Toys wooden fridge foods (a shared gift with her sister). The baby got baby food in her stocking, Beatrix Potter books, a homemade knit cat, a little softie her sister made her and the shared fridge food. The tree was NOT oveflowing, by any means, but Sylvia was so, so happy. She gushed over her gifts and kept saying how much she loved everything. It was affirming and heartwarming. I hope yours was the same!