Handmade Christmas

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Name tags with children!

The other day I got this harebrained idea to do a craft project with the kids. I'd purchased some posterboard and was going to let them cut Christmas photos and graphics from my old magazines to make Christmas montages. Because kids love cutting things! And also glue! But then I decided to get ridiculously complicated with it and thought it a better idea to make three-dimensional name tags that people won't notice anyway on Christmas day because they'll be too busy ripping open the wrapping paper.

I did that one year: I made all the tags and distressed them myself to make them look vintage; I took regular brown paper bags and decorated them with stamps. I tied them all up with raffia and tissue paper I'd purchased at a local paper/stationary boutique. Barely anyone even noticed. The presents were ripped open, the name tags were lost in piles of trash, the tissue paper was torn. At the time I thought that next year I'd serve presents straight from a trough. As expected, time mellowed my mood and lightened the intense cynical nature I involuntarily adopt at what is supposed to be the happiest time of the year.

(Did I mention that an overzealous shopper almost hit Ewan in a parking lot yesterday? A driver was so afraid to park more than 300 feet from the store entrance that he sped by us, practically pinning us against our vehicle and brushing against Ewan's coat he was THAT CLOSE. Chris had to physically restrain me. We live in an age where trinkets are valued more than life. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!)

And just like women forget all about the pain and agony of childbirth when they plan for more children, I decided to get all superfluous and crafty again with the presentation of gifts this year. This was due, in part, to our severely pinching pennies this holiday season and giving people small, thoughtful, and/or local and handmade gifts. I wanted the packaging to match the thought that went into each gift.

Just like the Grinch smiled when he thought about taking the Who's Christmas away, so did I also smile when I thought about making three-dimensional name tags. It was more about me than about others I think, which is a right lesson to demonstrate when you're cramming the true meaning of Christmas down the throats of your children before they can fill up on mass commercialism. Irony is delicious. Hindsight is also 20/20.

So the boys and I gathered around the dining room table and cut out photos and graphics from my Martha Stewart, Domino, and Home Companion magazines. I trimmed up that which Ewan cut, before gluing the cutouts onto posterboard and cutting those out. We affixed the posterboard ornaments onto small rectangles of posterboard onto which Liam had glued decorative cardstock to form the base of the tag. Afterwards we ended up with just enough for each gift. We also completely hated crafts by this time and I was covered in glitter. I could taste it, even. I had an urge to wash it down with some Maker's Mark.

Name tags with children! Name tags with children!

But! Name tags were finished, we'd not spend one cent besides a dollar for the posterboard, and I logged some homeschool hours for math (measuring each name tag) and art. I then noticed that Ewan had operated under the assumption that he was making name tags for himself when I saw his name scrawled on half of them.

I'm looking at the bright side. At least he can spell. And the glitter just made me look festive. 


oh, golly. i can't believe the driver was so clueless...i take that back. it happened to me. blogged here. some people have little concern for the world around them.

the craft sounds like fun. if i didn't have a billion gifts to make, i'd try something fun.


They look great! They look very Charles Dickensy! Very creative! LOL! Well, it seems that the Christmas spirit is being dragged out of you kicking and screaming but I believe it's gotcha!

You're kids will remember doing nice things like that with you their whole lives...


Hi, Comrade Dana. I'm sorry that some half-wit almost hurt your kid. But I'm glad your Ewan's safe, though. I was backed into a few days ago in the parking lot at my job in DeSoto, by a fairly old couple hailing all the way from Texas. They put a pretty huge dent near the back of my car, but I called the police and told them I didn't feel like going to all the hassle of filing a police report and getting it fixed. I just shook the guy's hand and wished 'im a Merry Christmas and was on my way. Those name tags turned out pretty good, Dana. Your kids are way more creative at art then I am. My art education consisted of watching other kids trade Pokemon cards and lots of daydreaming...that's about it. To this day, I can't draw a crooked line, let alone a straight one. I hope everything's well... and your not stuck in a well. Well, take care and have a Merry Christmas, Comrade!

Yes people in parking lots are clueless and insane. Wow your tags are so beautiful!!!

I love your blog! It's refreshing to read a blog from someone who loves to do crafty domestic mommy stuff -- I thought we were a dying breed :-)

Do you find homeschooling rewarding? The hubs and I don't have kids yet but I've toyed with the idea -- as a product of prep school but as a couple who likely wont have the funds to send the offspring to our alma mater at $25k a pop, I think it's a great way to give kids the education you really want them to have. Of course everyone is a naysayer, so I love to find people who do it and are happy with it. When did you start? What made you want to start? Whats the hardest part??

Those are so fun. We are having a homemade Christmas this year too. It is super important right now to get our 3 year old in the giving process or else it is all about wanting more and more. More to open, more to buy for her. I had the same sort of experience you had one year when I made homemade gift wrap and tied each package painstakingly with an elaborate ribbon and customized tag. My heart sank when people ripped through the 14 hours of work I put into the parcels and then kind of sighed at the book inside the packaging. Jerks. Not everyone comes at Christmas with the same kind of spirit I guess. For the record, I would totally cherish a present with a gift tag like the ones you and the boys made. Probably would ooh and ahh over it more than what was inside- because I know what kind of time you put into it. What a fun idea and you made more than a tag- you made a memory with your kids. :) Merry Christmas!

those name tags are really great, me thinks it was a great decision, one your boys will remember. i almost made some this year, but cam to my senses when my twins 20 month olds tried to rip paper and picking shears from my hands. instead i used old stickers of the alphabet to tag each bag. quick, free and fun.

i am glad to have found your blog thru the momversation site. looking forward to reading more, especially on the home schooling front. very interested. happy holidays to you and yours

OMG! You are too funny! Uhm - not the part about the crazed driver, but ``serving presents from a trough`` ....I really had a laugh which I thank you for! I soooo relate about forgetting the crap we do to ourselves in our efforts to make the holidays happen, and then we repeat it all over again with renewed determination, ha ha! Ahhh...we are all so gloriously crazy. :) God bless ya!

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