My Nana loved Christmas time. She went all out every year with an explosion of holiday decor, baking, presents, caroling, and celebrating! I treasured each and everything that she did. Those decorations and traditions are now mine to give to my children. there was a time when we lost our Nana and Christmas magic seemed dimmer. But my mother created some new traditions to keep us in the spirit and remind us of Nana and her enthusiasm for life and family.
On tradition is the 12 Days of Christmas. The year my Nana passed away, my mother gave each of us (there were 3 kids) 12 gifts starting on my Nana's birthday (Dec. 13th) and ending on Christmas Eve. They were little trinkets, ornaments, everyday items that made her think of each of us. Things that might have been mentioned in passing, things that we needed or wanted things that she knew would make us smile. We got to open one present each day. It was an advent of sorts. But it was more than that...it was a reminder of my Nana's love and generosity of Christmas. Something to look forward to. My mother was building a tradition for us that would be cherished and give some joy to our sadness. I think it was as much for her sake as for our enjoyment. She needed to feel that there was a piece of her mother in the act of giving. After about 4 years of this and when I was still in college, I decided that it was not fair that she did it for each of us and my Dad but she didn't get 12 Days for herself. So, I created 12 gifts for her. I carefully made, found and wrapped each one and labeled them with pretty tags. She cried when I gave her the basket with all the gifts in it just for her. I cried because it gave her joy.
We continued to evolve the format of this and who we included. Finally, I had children and we split the shopping and giving of the 12 Days gifts for them. It was stressful but wonderful all at the same time. It's hard because each year you have to think of new items or different ways to present them. One year was a scavenger hunt to find the location of each item. Sometimes I make handmade items, others I find little things that will be wanted. I go to craft shows, little stores, and Target. LOVE Target! Sorry...off topic. For example, I know my mom needs a new set of mixing spoons for the kitchen so I would buy those for the 1st day. Then, I would make a few gifts like a brag book, framed kid's photos, artwork, and useful items like soft socks, toothbrush, or eye glass lanyard. It's funny how must a little mention of something they like or need can generate a gift idea. I loved collecting gifts for each day and lovingly wrapping each one and labeling it with a day for opening. I did this for 6 years.
Then I had kids and it got harder to keep up with all the gifts. My Mom was creating 12 Days of each of her kids, my Dad, and my 2 little cousins. It became overwhelming. No longer was it fun, but now it was something we had to do and the joy of thinning. So we decided to just focus on the kids. So, we split the joy in half and I did 6 days and she did 6 days. That was manageable. Even though it has evolved and changed over the years, the tradition of thoughtful giving from Dec. 12th, my Nana's birthday, to Christmas Eve has still given us joy in giving and comfort in the family love that brought this tradition together. It's not about the gifts, but about the thought, love and joy that comes from those 12 little gifts. I hope my children understand where this came from and how the ones that love them feel when they see their faces light up with each opened gift. I've seen many versions of this traditions but ours has special meaning in the start and end dates and the choosing of each item.
Gift box and necklace made with Faber-Castell Design Memory Craft and Creative Imaginations products
What an incredible giveaway from Graphic 45, X-ACTO, Sizzix, and May Arts! Leave a comment for Jen and I’ll put your name in the drawing. Leave a comment on each of the 12 day's posts to be entered for 12 opportunities to win this gorgeous prize package! You can also go to X-ACTO's, Graphic 45's, Sizzix's, and May Art's Facebook page and “like,” leaving a comment you came from D’s Paper Studio and leave another comment on one of the blog posts letting me know to be entered again. One blog reader's name will be drawn and announced on Monday, December 14th. On your Mark, Get Set, Go....! (for a detailed, up close look at the contents of the giveaway ... click HERE)
Included in the Giveaway:
Graphic 45: Nutcracker Sweet 12x12 paper pad; both sets of coordinating stickers; Ornate Metal Keys; Ornate Metal Key Holes; Flower Staples, Envelope Tag Staples
May Arts: (as pictured) Red and Green Center Strip 25 yards; Jute 400 yards; Mini-Pom Poms 30 yards; Velvet 50 yards; Cotton Strip 30 yards
X-ACTO: X-ACTO Designer Series 9’’ Fixed Blade; X-ACTO Designer Series Precision Scissors; X-ACTO Designer Series Corner Punch; X-ACTO Designer Series Gripster; X-ACTO Designer Series Shapes Templates; CraftBond Glue Spots; CraftBond Quick Dry Dual Tip Glue Pen; CraftBond All Purpose Glue Stick
Sizzix: The New Tim Holtz Texture Fades; They include: 658269 Holly Pattern & Wreath Set; 658273 Brush Poinsettias & Winter Berries Set; 658270 Textured Poinsettia Pattern Set; and 658272 Holly Branch & Pine Branch Set
Have a Wonderful Crafty Holiday!