Friday, December 9, 2011

How to Do Christmas for Little or No Money - Gifts Made With Heart

I wasn't always a stay at home mom. This year I lost my job at a national Fortune 500 company. I had hoped that this large company would lead me toward a career and a better life for my family, yet at every turn in my career I felt corruption and mismanagement. For a long time after I lost my job I was confused, hurt, sad, and in despair about what to do with my life and in the future. 

The only thing I did know for sure was that I never wanted to become a failure, I had to be strong for my son, for my family. So I started turning all my negative thoughts into positive goals. Like, "How am I going to support myself?," into "I have tangible skills and abilities, if others aren't able to or don't see the value in ME, I'll make value in myself. I will DO for myself." Those kind of thoughts led me to where I am today: a happier, more positive woman and mother.

Many, like me, have had to make adjustments in their lifestyle in the past few years. People are now turning to crafting, renovation, and upcycling to make old things new again or to make something new out of raw materials. Being low on funds this holiday season, I decided to opt for making something wonderful that my family would know was made out of love. My hope is that every time they see one of these handmade gifts they think of me and the sentiment I felt when making their personal gift. Sure, I could have gone out and bought the latest, trendiest gift of 2011 {that they'll probably forget that they even have when Christmas 2012 rolls around}, but knowing that my family will see that I took the time to craft something with my own hands - to dream up and build something just for them - I hope they will find to be priceless.

My challenge this year was to essentially make something out of nothing, and I've applied the same sentiment to my holiday gift giving. 

So out of nothing, I made these:

With just yarn, felt, ribbon, chip board, and some hot glue I made these beauties!

It's really amazing how "something" can come from "nothing."

My son calls one of his grandmas "mam-ma."

Oh, how I love them all! I'm sure like any other crafter, I consider each project my "baby" that I can't quite justify giving away (but will anyway as Christmas gifts). My heart and soul has really gone into these beautiful 18" yarn wreaths complete with hand-crafted felt flowers, ribbon for embellishment, and glittering chip board letters. Just a year ago I would never have believed that I could make things this beautiful or this intricate with my own hands! [As you can tell I haven't quite finished all of them yet.]

Projects like these have helped me to renew the passion in my life. Because, after all, that's what we're supposed to be living for, right? 

I think I might start this as a new tradition, making handmade {from the heart} gifts instead of GUESSING what old Great Aunt Margaret might want or could possibly need. What kind of handmade or homemade things are you creating this year for the holidays? Did you make something for your home? Did you make something to give as a present as I did? I'd love to get some ideas for next year!

I guess the moral of the story is: You don't have to be rich, or powerful, or genius to be happy or to make others happy. It's the things that come from the heart that really count.

This holiday I'm counting my blessings, and I hope you will too!

Project was shared here and here.

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