When we first decided we weren't going to "do Santa" with our kids, we caught a bit of flack from people. Many friends and even some family didn't quite understand why we would want to take the magic out of Christmas by removing Santa. What I didn't (and still don't) understand is the desire some people have to move the spotlight away from the real meaning of the holiday and shine it on the sins of commercialism and greed. I know, I know. . . I'm being a little hard on Santa. It's not Ol' St. Nick's fault that we're greedy in this culture and that we worship stuff we don't need. And I do like Santa. You will find few people in this world who love a good Santa Claus movie more than I do. My kids and I quite enjoy a good Santa movie or story book together. I just think that there's more power and magic in the story if you don't pretend it's real. It's a metaphor for how God gives to us. And just to set the record straight. . . to my knowledge my kids have never "blown it" for kids who do believe in Santa. We've told them it's an important game for some families, so don't screw the game up.
A few years back, in our efforts to cut back on the blatant commercialism and greed that surround Christmas, we declared a year "Handmade Christmas." We did not buy a single gift that year, aside from stocking stuffers (which in our house are required every year to be practical and useful things like socks and flashlights and such). We bought some things to use to make gifts, but every gift for all our friends and family - including our kids (and all four kids were living at home that year) - were handmade. It may have been the best Christmas ever. The years since have been crazy busy with seminary, job transitioning, etc in our house. So while our Christmases remain simple, we haven't had another handmade Christmas since that one a few years back. This year, we have decided to reinstate Handmade Christmas. In light of that and in order to help encourage some of you to think about simplicity this Christmas season, I will be posting craft tutorials every Wednesday from now until Christmas. I still don't have a million hours a week to make crafts, so all of these will be quick and simple - they will take no longer than an hour each. Some will be much quicker and/or will produce more than one gift. They will also make use of craft stuff I happen to have lying around in my office at home. That said, I have inordinate amounts of yarn and fabric, as well as zippers and other notions. You'll probably have to buy a few things, but nothing expensive.
I hope you enjoy! The first tutorial will go up tomorrow morning!