My husband has been a hard working man all his life. He had his first job at 16 and has been working ever since. He never finished high school due to circumstances beyond his control (sort of) and so has never been a professional man who earned a large salary. He supported his family the best he could, sometimes working two jobs, while believing that I should stay home and be the mom. I love him very much for this, but we really did struggle at times, and if it weren't for the church, we might have starved a few times as well.
But as bad as things got sometimes, we always had a great Christmas. We didn't spend a lot of money because we obviously didn't have it, but we made our Christmases the best we could for our five children. Piece by piece, we acquired some wood working tools, and started really learning to use them. I've been sewing since I was 8 years old, so that was a big help. I made pj's and clothes and soft toys, while hubby built wooden toys and play kitchens and blocks and anything else we could think of. We spent time with our kids, going caroling with the church folks, playing "I Spy" around the tree, watching sappy Christmas movies, stringing popcorn (or styrofoam packing peanuts in our case).....all the things that my children still remember with fondness. At least, that's what they say. Some of my children have said they didn't know we were poor when they were young, and others knew we were poor but didn't feel like they were missing anything great.
And along with all that, I taught my kids to make their own Christmas, too. They drew each other's names to see who they had to give to, and then made them something they would like. They made gifts for me and dad and for their grandparents. In fact, when my mother died, I found in her things some of those gifts that she would never part with. Some of my kids may have forgotten what those Christmases were like, but I know they remember the feeling. And, if I have to, I will admit that there were times I went into my closet and cried because we didn't have more to give, but now that they are adults, I see that it was good for them to learn that Christmas is about more than getting, getting, getting. I just hope they will pass that lesson on to the next generation.
You might recognize these guys from the Snowball Fight in a Can.
So now that I've rambled on for four paragraphs, let's get down to the fun stuff. Today's project is something I've been doing for over 40 years. How many of you have done thumbprint art with your families? I did my first thumbprint cards when I was just a young girl and have always loved seeing what I could come up with to make from a thumbprint. Or a fingerprint, in most cases. And now, thumbprint art is all over the internet! You can just google it and get hundreds of hits. And Ed Emberly......there's just nothing that describes the joy I get from his books! Last year, we did these cards in Relief Society (the ladies meeting at my church) and had a ball trying to figure out new picture/pun combos. Then we sent them to all the missionaries and military people from our ward. I hope they enjoyed getting them as much as we enjoyed making them.
Because we were adults, we used paints. When I do these with kids, I usually use ink pads. They don't wash off quite as easily, but they don't spill, either. (I wish I had used white paint on the stocking cuffs, then the top of the red wouldn't show through. That's how we learn, by trial and error.) If you cut a piece of white cardstock in half and then fold it in half, you will have a great size card. You can have them open on the side or bottom, or even on the top if a little one makes a booboo. Grandparents will love that!
Give your family (or yourself) some paint or ink pads, markers, a few card blanks., and the freedom to experiment, and you will be surprised at what creativity will pop it's head out.
You can make gift tags, too. So cute, no one will want to throw them away!
A little time spent with your family is more precious than silver or gold, so go make some cards. Teach them that making something thoughtful, or even fun, is so much better that just going to the store and buying the first thing you see. If you make a gift for someone with them in mind, they will appreciate it so much more.
See you tomorrow,