Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Chime In: "Homemade" for the Holidays

This year, our family has done a variety of homemade holiday projects... everything from gifts to ornaments for the tree. I thought I would showcase some of our creations here and then invite readers to comment with some of their own ideas.

One thing our team does at Christmas-time is a handmade gift exchange. You can read all about (and see pictures of) our first one here on Teague's blog.

This year, Stephen made a Christmas tea towel for Jordan. Green handprints made the tree, and Alex followed with red thumbprints for the ornaments. I don't have a picture of the finished product, but these are pictures Rusty took while we were making it:

Thank goodness for non-toxic fabric paint!

Alex made (with help) some jar cookie mixes and jar hot chocolate mix for Nathan. He also made chocolate-dipped plastic spoons for stirring the hot chocolate -- yummy! There are lots of great websites with ideas for gifts in a jar. Here is one of my favorites.

Rusty made an adorable train puzzle for Biruk. He cut the pieces with a scroll saw, sanded them all, and painted them himself. The puzzle has the alphabet painted on one side, and numbers up to 25 on the other side. Super cute and educational too!

I made a visual journal using magazine scraps for Katie. Again, I don't have pictures of the one I made, but there are lots of ideas and inspiration here on one of my favorite blogs.

Other projects have included making little jars of "Snowman Soup," a.k.a. hot chocolate. Alex helped a lot with this, and had a great time! I saved all my baby food jars for several weeks because they are the perfect size for packaging individual servings of hot chocolate mix, but I've also seen people use zip-lock baggies. We gave these out to all the staff at Hillsboro, and some will probably find their way into stockings on Christmas morning, too. They would also make great teacher/mailman/garbage man/paper boy gifts!

The label reads:
"When the weather outside is frightful,
Snowman Soup can be delightful.
Add hot water and sip it slow.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow."

Finally, I have started a tradition with Alex of making one kind of handmade ornament for the tree every year. Last year, we made pinecone ornaments. This year, it was cinnamon-applesauce ornaments. Recipe and lots of great ideas here. I was really pleased with how these turned out. The "dough" was very easy to work with; they look cute hanging on the tree; and house smelled amazing while they were in the oven baking! I figure if we continue this tradition through the years, my kids will be able to leave home with a collection of "their ornaments" someday (if they are even interested in keeping them, being boys and all).

One of our new ornaments hanging on the tree.

Okay, readers... it's time for you to chime in. Share some of your favorite homemade holiday projects and traditions! I'm always looking for new ideas, so you might find me adopting some of them in years to come.

Merry Christmas, everyone!!!


  1. So I'm a bit late with this comment, but I wouldn't mind making a tradition out of making fun of Robert through homemade songs. What do you think?

  2. Very fun and creative ideas!! I'm impressed!