More than Presents Under the Tree

gifts under the tree

Three years ago in December, I wrote a blog entitled Avoiding the Plague of Materialism. You can read it here. This year as it gets closer to Christmas I am still aware of many of the same things, and am trying to pass on to my children the importance and blessing of giving to others, instead of focusing on all that they are going to receive. We really don’t want our children to see the celebration of the birth of Jesus as little more than presents under the tree. It is SO much more than this, but the commercialization of Christmas makes it tricky for this I want attitude to stay away from our homes doesn’t it? It means that we have to be so intentional as we live out our lives as Christ followers.

This year we have had the opportunity to purchase gifts for children overseas and for children in our community, and because of this we are thankful that we have been able to show our kids ways in which we can look to meet the needs of others, instead of focusing on ourselves and our wants. As they grow older, we will continue to watch for age appropriate ways to serve as a family that will broaden the awareness that our girls have of the needs around them – not only physical needs, but also spiritual needs.

My hope is that this year as our girls open up their simple gifts which we thoughtfully picked out for them, that they will be thankful. That each year as they mature, that they will grow in awareness and understanding of the responsibility as one of the wealthiest nations in the world, to care for our neighbours in the third world. That they will be aware of how many opportunities they are given in this country, and that they will not take their life for granted. That they will have an eternal perspective on life as they live out Christ’s command to care for the orphans and the widows.

May we teach our children with wisdom and joy this Christmas season.

Karen

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25 4 & 5

 

A Handmade Gift Exchange

This year we had another handmade gift exchange with my side of the family, and it was AWESOME! It is so cool to see everyone’s creativity flowing, and to see the different talents that everyone has. I will let these images speak for themselves, with just a small sampling of what was exchanged this year between kids and adults.

Handmade Doll Handmade Gift
Vintage look doll.

Handmade Painting Handmade Gift
Butterfly paintings.

Handmade
Spice Mixes and ornament.

Handmade
Slingshot. This gift was fun to make! The post office worker gave us the long elastics, and the shoe repair shop owner gave us the leather for the pouch. My husband made the rest from some pine board that we had in the garage, by whittling it down and sanding it. It was really fun to see how much our nephew loved it – he was shooting felt play food all over the house in the days following!

Handmade Purse Handmade Gift
Crocheted purse.

Handmade
Knitted Legwarmers.

Handmade BBQ Kit Handmade Gift
BBQ Grilling Kit.

Handmade Batman Cape Handmade Gift
Batman Cape and Mask.

We had such a variety of gifts! Others included a custom welded bike rack attachment, a tin of Christmas cookies, hair clips, soaps and lip gloss, an apron, a child’s denim tool belt, and more!

The other thing I love about handmade gifts is that because you’re putting time and love into them, you are more likely to have a thoughtful gift that has so much meaning to the person on the receiving end. We are all just loving our handmade gifts, and I would encourage you to think outside the box and consider doing a handmade gift exchange as well next year!

3 Moms, 3 Creative Businesses, 1 Christmas Open House

Part of our strategy for simple living is that I work from home and run a small business. This allows me to stay home with the kids and to work when we can fit it into our schedule. This past Saturday we opened up our home, and along with two other mompreneurs we had our first Christmas Open House, and thanks to many of you, it was a great success! Here is an image of the front side of our invitation designed for us by Daryl of Cowlick Studios (my husband and favorite designer).

Open House Invitation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were excited to offer such a diverse group of products at one event.

Margit from Roots and Leaves featured her delicious and healthy herbal teas, as well as her handmade soaps which don’t strip your body of moisture like most soaps do. Margit’s products are all natural and don’t include any added flavor, chemicals, or preservatives. We were also serving her Christmas Tea which was a big hit with all of it’s lovely flavor!

Roots and Leaves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laura from Walls and Words by Wilkinsigns featured her stunning decals that can be adhered directly onto walls, as well as her beautiful pieces of art – some of which are done on reclaimed wood. What talent she has!

Walls and Words

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I featured a full line of my Koala Pouch Baby products including both girl’s and boy’s crocheted hats, toy balls and animals, baby slings, nursing covers, infant bibs, and toddler bibs.

Koala Pouch Baby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a picture of some of the lovely goodies that were offered to our guests.

Cookies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here we are at the end of a day that was successful thanks to the support of our family, friends, and local supporters from the community – Laura, Margit and I wish to THANK YOU for making this a great event and for shopping locally this Christmas!

3 Moms

A Handmade Christmas

My family is quite crafty, and as it happened my siblings and I who are married happened to marry spouses who are quite crafty in one way or another as well. Last Christmas we were taking stock of all of the skills that we possess as a family: woodworking, welding, sewing, knitting, crocheting, graphic design, writing music, painting, stained glass making and more! So we decided that this year we would put those skills to work to make fun, meaningful handmade gifts for Christmas and boy was it a success!!!! Some of those gifts included a custom made bike rack, a wooden rocking horse, hand painted mugs, a sock monkey and a sock lamb, reusable produce bags, leather moccasins, Koala Pouch hats and balls, a super hero costume, felt food, some vintage purses, a custom designed poster and some beautiful Christmas tree ornaments. Cool right? Here are a some pictures showing just a few of the gifts that were exchanged.

Handmade Christmas balls

Our newest niece Taliah with her toy balls

Handmade Christmas Children's food

Just look at this amazing felt food – my favorite are the eggs in the carton!

Handmade Christmas hat1

Meghan looking lovely in her new hat

Handmade Christmas hat2

Susie looking stylish in her new hat

Handmade Christmas moccasins

The fantastic leather moccasins that I received!

Handmade Christmas ornaments

A small sampling of the super cute ornaments presented

Handmade Christmas purse

Sophia loving her new strawberry purse

Our Christmas was such a success that we are planning on doing it again next year!

If you have done a handmade gift exchange I would love to hear about it – please include descriptions of gifts given and even pictures. Or if you have had a Handmade Christmas let me know how it turned out for you.