So, the first doors on the advent calendars have been opened, and the letters to Father Christmas have been sent. The Girl and Boy send their letters in the traditional manner - by placing them in a milk bottle and leaving them out to be collected overnight. I still find it magical to see that the letters have been taken overnight - the look of pure delight, amazement and excitement on the kid's faces is just wonderful. I know Father Christmas has dragged himself into the 21st century and seems to be able to accept letters via post and even email now, but it's traditional all the way for us. And the Man in Red doesn't seem to mind…
But it's so easy to get overtaken by the materialism of Christmas, isn't it? Which toys to put on the list, the annual flicking through shop catalogues, the ordering of the food… And I worry that our family is in danger of losing sight of the more important messages that Christmas has to offer. So this year we've made a determined effort to address at least some of this potential imbalance, and have hopefully given the kids even the smallest dose of the true spirit of Christmas.
In mid-November we commenced 'Operation Clearout', in which we all had a bag and we put one item into it each day until the end of the month. The item had to be worth donating to charity - not a toy from a fast food restaurant or a battered book of no use to anyone. We explained to the kids that it was important to remember that some children don't enjoy the relative luxuries that they do and that by donating just 15 items each, although they probably wouldn't miss the items too much, they will bring some pleasure to another boy or girl who will treasure and enjoy their donations. I'm pleased to say we all rose to the challenge and the bags will be winging their way to a local charity shop in the next day or so.
We've also been doing a 'reverse advent calendar' and, for the last couple of weeks, have been putting an item of non-perishable food into a bag each day, which will be donated to our local food bank in mid-December. It saddens and shocks me that, in this day and age, we still have families who must rely on food banks. Our local organisation does an amazing job supporting local families, and its our family's way of trying to help others.
In terms of crafting, I'm well and truly in the thick of much festive-ness. In truth, I have been for some weeks now, especially as I knew I wanted to share some of my ideas with you on this blog. I hadn't realised quite how much time it would take! I've been working on a couple of ideas for some time now and I'm really reveal a couple of them to you today. These decorations are crocheted, however in the next couple of weeks I'll be showing you some more ideas that you non-crocheters can get involved in.
I'm very proud of these decorations, not least because they're mine from scratch - I've come up with the concepts, designed and written the patterns and made and re-made them until I'm happy with them. I think next year I'll be starting working on Christmas in June… I hope you like them. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you my snowman ornament…
…and my festive tree decorations…
Ta-dah! I really love them and they're going to look wonderful with all our other decorations once they're up (which will probably be in a couple of weekends' time - we have a real tree so need to leave it for a while or we'll end up with a bald tree by Christmas Day).
The snowman stands around 16cm tall (including hat) and would look wonderful on a mantelpiece or shelf. He's really simple to make and of course you can always customise him any way you want.
The pattern for the snowman is available here (snowman crochet pattern) - I think the pattern is pretty easy to follow, and I've included photos to help you on your merry way. Let me know how you get on!
The tree decorations are also really simple to make. You could hang them on your tree, or you could hang them from a light fitting or under a mantelpiece on a garland… I've hung mine on a twig/branch which we have on display in our home all year round. It sits in front of our stove in the dining room and looks fantastic decked out with these little beauties…
I've created four different designs; a snowman, robin, penguin and Rudolph.
The link to the pattern is here (tree decorations crochet pattern). Again, I've made it as simple as I can and have included photos throughout.
The next decoration I'm working on involves wool, but no crocheting. And no knitting. In fact nothing that requires any special skills. I hope that's whetted your appetite!
Bye for now xxx