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I absolutely love this time of year and one of my favorite things to do is giving gifts that are homemade and also creating my own Christmas decorations. Several years ago I decided to make my own advent calendar. I always loved the Victorian advent calendar in the movie Christmas Vacation, so I set to work on the design. I went through my Victorian resource books and found a home that was a perfect one to use if I duplicated the image and combined them by reversing the 2nd image and adding it onto the original image, thus giving me enough windows and doors for the month. I transferred this final image onto a thin piece of plywood. I then woodburned all the details of the house and added a touch of color with colored pencils. I used my scroll saw to cut out the outline of the house and all the window and door openings. I used scenes from old Christmas cards and laminated them and attached them to the back of the plywood where the door and window openings were. I made another cutout of the outline of the house for a backing. I found tiny hinges for the doors and windows at a doll house supply shop and also found a tiny wreath for the front door. This has become a traditional favorite in our house and Steve and I take turns opening each day of the month.

A few years ago I thought it would be a fun idea to have a craft project day with my girls during the holidays and this has turned out to be another tradition we do each year. Our first project was a framed mirror with ornaments and other embellishments glued around the frame, with battery-operated mini lights draped through all the decorations. Each of us chose our own ornaments and embellishments and we had the best time putting them together and seeing how different all our designs were. Plus we had a fun, crazy time while working on the project too.

Another tradition the girls and I have is a traditional high tea during the holidays. We all bring a small gift for each other and one year I made tiny bead and wire trees that can either be used as an ornament or a wall decoration.

A couple years ago I saw a cute idea in a catalogue. It was a tiny wreath made out of buttons strung on wire. I made these for my girls for our tea that year too, plus a couple for my decorations. I made them out of some of my mother’s buttons, which makes them even more special.

Last year, our craft project was making snowmen out of Ivory Snow. I had made one when I was in grade school and had so much fun making it, it has always been a fun memory. I found a recipe online for the snowmen and then ordered the Ivory Snow. I found some small silver charger plates that were perfect for the base of our snowmen. It took quite awhile to get the snow the right consistency, but we all had so much fun making them and they turned out way too cute.

Another item I’ve made for gifts and hostess gifts through the years is a framed button tree. The background is black velvet-like material. Each tree has its own unique personality and everyone just loves them and some even leave them out year-round.

This year our craft project is going to be styrofoam felted trees in a grouping of 3 different sizes. We’re all looking forward to this project and each of us are picking out our own colors of felt. Photos will be coming later on this project.

There is just something so satisfying about making your own gifts and holiday decorations. It’s not only a unique one-of-a-kind gift, but also a gift of yourself to your loved ones.

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