This season is all about handmade toys for Christmas. It took months of planning and focus. But don’t be fooled into thinking I’m an elf stuck in Santa’s sweatshop. To make up for all the work I put into this year’s gifts, I outsourced a lot of other things I traditionally do. I am also sharing a fun handmade fail from Christmas past.
This is the Christmas I will tell my grandchildren about. I will likely embellish the story a bit. The tale will go a little something like this:
Dear sweet little grandchildren, way back in 2019 I orchestrated a most glorious handmade Christmas (now by this point in my life I will have an English accent). I went out into the rolling hills and found a pristine lamb. It graciously offered me its wool knowing the honorable way it would be used. After shearing the sweet little sheep, I spun the wool and knitted up hundreds of handmade toys for Christmas for everyone in our quaint little village.
Can you imagine their delight at my story? No? Neither can I. They will most likely respond with, “Grandma, you’re telling lies.” At that point I will abandon my storytelling and grab a spiked eggnog.
The honest truth is that this year I do have quite a few handmade toys for Christmas gifts. The one and only reason I accomplished this goal was because I started working on it way back in July. You can read more about that here. Not knowing what to do with all the toys I was planning to make, I decided that giving them as Christmas gifts for family and friends was the way to go.
Now, please don’t make the mistake of thinking that I do this every year. This is only my second Christmas as a toy maker and last year I sold most of my crocheted amigurumi in my Etsy shop. I felt guilty that so many of my family members had been neglected. So this is the year I was determined to remedy the situation.
Boxes and Tags
Handmade tags are one way to make handmade toys special. Click here if you missed my post, Simple Holiday Handmade Gift Tags. I think adding a pretty gift tag elevates a handmade toy and makes it even more special.
Secondly, I like to put my toys into nice boxes. I am a big believer that packaging is as important as the gift itself. The boxes that I like to use are the craft brown boxes that are relatively inexpensive. I not only do this for holidays but anytime I give or sell a toy.
Handmade Christmas Past
When my children were young I thought having a handmade Christmas was best. I worked myself to the bone and became extremely cranky about it all. I tried to make the most beautiful cakes, and let me tell you, I can’t decorate baked goods to save my life.
I actually sewed and hand smocked Christmas dresses for my girls when they were little. They were beautiful but I didn’t enjoy the time spent working on them. I felt that to be a good momma meant I had to do it all.
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Handmade Stockings Fail
My handmade Christmas stockings are legendary in our family and probably not for the reason you think. When my husband and I only had one child I hand made stockings from a kit. I made one for my husbnad, myself and our little daughter. Swelling with pride, I vowed to continue the tradition as we added to our family.
When we had our second child I wanted to continue the tradition. I did indeed make the stocking by hand, but I ended up not adding her name to the top or embellishing it with any notions or embroidery. But it is completely handmade.
When child number three came along I ended up making another stocking. But this time I made it with the sewing machine and fabric glue. I didn’t have the time or energy to worry about sewing it by hand. It also does not have a name or any embellishments whatsoever.
By the time number four came along my body and brain were so tired that I just bought him a stocking. It is very pretty, but clearly unlike the others. There is no name and looks much more professional than the handmade ones for the others.
Each year my children lament the fact that the oldest has a beautiful handmade stocking, the middle two have handmade, but albeit, very plain stockings and the youngest has a store bought one. We retell the story and laugh about how even our Christmas decor reflects real life.
Now before you think I’m all Martha Stewart up in here, stop. I know there are some seriously talented men and women out there who spend $10 on Christmas and hand make all the gifts and food for their families and friends. That is not me, my friend. I still overspent this holiday and am even outsourcing some of the food I traditionally make.
I am generally a seriously stressed out momma this time of year and I wanted this Christmas to be different. Actually I ordered a Honey Baked Ham for Christmas Eve and bought a beautiful Winter Wonderland Lemon Cranberry Cake for Christmas Day from Target. I haven’t enjoyed the holidays this much since I was a kid myself.
I even bought gingerbread men cookie decorating kits for each of my kids (yes they are 24, 22, 20 & 17). We are planning on a little competition, but this year my kitchen will be less messy, but fun will be had by all.
Gift to Myself
Now don’t get me wrong, it took me months to knit and crochet all fifteen handmade toys for Christmas. It was definitely a labor of love. These toys are a gift of myself to my loved ones this holiday season. But I gave myself the best gift of all this year. I gave myself permission to put a lot of effort into the areas that bring me the most joy and to outsource the rest.
My mantra this Christmas has been…
We can have it all…just not all by me.
I hope you all experience a most blessed Christmas season surrounded by those you love. And if this Christmas isn’t the best, I pray it passes quickly and that your New Year is filled with love and happiness. Merry Christmas. everyone!