Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories - December 9 Crafts for Christmas

9 December – Christmas Crafts

There’s a movement towards making items for Christmas gifts or even for Christmas decorating. Have you ever made something by hand related to Christmas? What was the item, how was it made and what did you do with the finished product? What about other family members – was or is there anyone who excels at hand-crafted items and giving them as gifts during Christmas?
I think we have always had some kind of craft involved in our Christmases.  Two of the earliest ones I remember were made by two of my aunts.  Aunt Paul made a taper candle into a tree by layering a series of stars in graduated sizes on the candle.  The stars were made by using a pinking shears (creates a zig-zag edge) on a very stiff gauze type of material.  The tips of the stars were then decorated with various colored foil stars.  It was lovingly packed away every year and happily re-assembled the following year.

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Aunt Ruth's treasured craft barely survived the season.  It was a wreath made of wrapped candies attached to a wire wreath form made from a hanger.  At the top of the wreath was a bow which also held a scissors suspended on a ribbon.  Friends were invited to use the scissors to detach a piece of candy.

Over the years several of our Christmas grab-bags have included the requirement that it be a handcrafted gift.  Some of the gifts over the years have included a standing fish wine bottle holder, etched beer steins with the family monogram,

 a fish shaped clock, (living in Florida there were several fisherman) a Seminole pattern quilted pillow in red and white( to match the recipient's decor) There was also a wire tree shape with wooden leaves to be labeled with family names and attached to the tree.

Sometimes the gift wrap itself could hold crafty treasures.  We still have the crocheted bells my mother-in-law used to wrap packages over 40 years ago.  There were also various hand crafted ornaments attached to packages.

Table decor could be crafty as there could be sleigh nut cups made from egg cartons with pipe cleaner runners or felt mittens with names written in glitter.  Some of the centerpieces over the years have included gum drop trees and gingerbread houses.  One year I made a tree by slicing spearment leaves vertically and attaching them to a styrofoam cone with toothpicks.  The base was a one and one half styrofoam disk covered with peppermint stick candies.  The tree also had ornaments made from gumdrops.  Actually I made two of them and gave one to a neighbor with a five year old.  My grands started making gingerbread houses about ten years ago in Germany.  The very first ones used graham crackers anchored to a one pound butter box with frosting.  Eventually they advanced to the full size Wilton kits and have now downsized to the cottages.  One year my father-in-law made individual star candles for everyone with their names on them as dinner place-cards.  Those were treasured for years.
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