11 months and counting!

One of the girls at work loves Christmas and I mean she really loves Christmas. Beginning January 25th she starts the count down by posting on my calendar, 11 months until Christmas.

No matter how you look at it, 11 months until the next Christmas or 1 month after last Christmas it comes every Dec. 25th. This also means approx. 10 months until my family starts the moaning and groaning about our annual handmade Christmas gift exchange. Two years ago, I started a tradition of drawing names for a handmade family gift exchange. This concept has not been well received by all of the family members but this is only year two and I am not giving up. They are creative in so many ways and don’t even realize.

One of the kids has always written quirky poems to all the other family members. One plays music, a few of them are fantastic cooks. A handmade gift does not just mean creating a patchwork quilt but I think my family associates handmade with a sewing machine.

Being creative also has a lot to do with making or doing something just prefect for the one person on your shopping list. I was lucky enough to draw the name of one of the girlfriends who is fairly new to the fam. I was playing around with an older Moda pattern and had already started making it in red and blacks.

The name I drew was a graduate of Texas Tech so this was going to work out perfect.

I think they enjoyed hamming it up for a photo shoot.
This quilt had black snuggles on the back and finished out as the most yummy cuddly project ever. Everyone in my family now wants a quilt with snuggles on the back.

Bob made Grant a really cool wooden bench. He cut down the tree and created a new family heirloom. {I tried to sneak this bench home with me, but I couldn’t even lift it. }

Bo received a special monogrammed chefs coat and proudly wore it the rest of the holiday break. That was creative and not just something you could buy off a rack at the mall.

Jarrod is the uncle to little Nolan but he has also been named the baby snatcher since he seems to always be the hogging the baby. Others received trophies, paintings, gift cards for cleaning and other thoughtful, creative gifts. We have drawn names for next year so we have 11 months and no trading names!!
What does the word handmade mean to you?


  1. that is a neat idea. sometimes our daughters will make spice bottles of various barbecue rubs or herbs to sprinkle in food. I of course do the sewing/quilting things, one daughter is into needle point and makes pretty little pictures and will find an old metal embroidery hoop to use as a frame – hubby doesn't get into this all 🙁 but the girls and I have fun with it.

  2. JoAnne says:

    We tried doing handmade gifts one year. Can you believe I can't remember what I did? I know I helped my husband–he made emergency candles in repurposed Altoid tins. My dad made applebutter. (We didn't draw names–we were making the same small item for everyone.) Needless to say, they didn't like the tradition and moved on. Although my daughter does make fantastic truffles for everyone each year.

  3. Debbie says:

    Handmade to me is many things. Though-the planning that went into the idea to create that special gift, creativity-what is made from that idea, cherish- how I feel that someone put so much time and effort in creating something just for me and how I will alway cherish it, no matter what it is!

  4. Sherri says:

    This was such a great post! I am going to start this tradition in my family…some of my kids are going to moan and groan for sure…but I love this idea!!!

  5. I absolutely love this idea!!! I totally am going to do this with my kids :). It will be fun to see hoe we start with crayon drawings and go from there. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful idea 🙂

  6. Janet says:

    What a wonderful tradition! I think I'm going to try and sneak a bit of that between me and my sisters … we all quilt and knit, so should be able to come up with something fun!

  7. sewyouquilt2 says:

    handmade can mean anything from jewelry making to canning to woodburning. anything from the person themselves. how fun to do that. to me that is a truer meaning of Christmas than buying something to wrap.

  8. We always make everyone a 1 1/2" paper pieced "pendant" (what we usually sell as a pendant), turned into a tree ornament. I've done a couple of different paper pieced trees, but this year I used the snowmen (from Snowman Gatherings fabrics) in the center, then pieced around that. I write "Merry Christmas" and the year on the back.

  9. mascanlon says:

    We are moving in this direction with a big family of young adults. 5 years ago we went to a one name draw with a $$ limit. The last 2 yrs we've dropped the limit and that caused a lot of angst for some (you have to think about it more) and a lot of relief for others. Been thinking about doing a family gift to a non profit we all vote on but maybe some variation of that and this! Thanks for the ideas!

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