12 Days of Home for the Holidays Welcomes Jen Matott

Jen came to my attention while I was following an online event for Faber-Castell...her art is incredible, along with her blog.  Jen is a designer/educator for Faber-Castell (their Art Jouranling kit is on my Christmas wish list...!) and Prima Marketing, along with many more companies.  You can see more on her blog.  I'm privileged to Welcome Jen Matott!

 In my family, Christmas is a very big deal!  I grew up with traditions that start the day after Thanksgiving with putting up the tree and decorations, shopping for the perfect gift that will make our loved one's smile, and a variety of holiday family get-together, cookie baking, story reading, wrapping presents and more.  It was a magical time as a child. My mother made it special because her mother made it special for her.

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


Jen Matott
Art Talk

I think at times the December Holidays can be hardest when we have those we love so much and are so much a part of our traditions gone from our daily lives.  Thank you Jen for reminding and inspiring me to remember those we love with those traditions for our children and grandchildren.

Giveaway

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!



Comments

  1. What a wonderful tradition! I love creating new traditions for favorite holidays!

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing with us Jen - Merry Christmas.

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  3. Such a wonderful tradition and I love that it involves your Mom as well. Merry Christmas!

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  4. What a lovely way of giving and more importantly keeping each family member focused on family and the love that each of you share with each other. TFS your wonderful Christmas family traditions with us, so very heart warming.

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  5. What a fun and awesome way to treasure your Grandma's memory and her birthday! Loved hearing all about your traditions!!!

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  6. What a beautiful tradition! I love the meaning and thought behind it all! Thanks so much for sharing, Jen!...Nancy :o)

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  7. Thanks for sharing your fun tradition of 12 days. Merry Christmas!

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  8. Such a lovely story. You and your Mother have given your Christmas such meaning with your 12 days of Christmas tradition. Thanks for sharing with us!

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  9. what a beautiful tradition! love the gift tags!

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  10. I enjoyed reading about your 12 days of Christmas family tradition, and how you carried on the memory of your grandmother. TFS such a wonderful story.

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  11. What a beautiful tradition and tribute to your Nana!!! Thanks for sharing it!

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  12. What a beautiful story. Christmas is so hard when the ones you love are no longer with us but your mom (and you!) made it so special. I love it! Beautiful tags and jewels!

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  13. Oh my ~ what a wonderful tradition and your story touched my heart. The most loved person in my life was my Grandma and she made every day special, but Christmas was magical with her. Your story brought tears, but tears of remembering her with joy and Christmas gone by. Thank you for sharing ~

    Susan
    margoplace91@comcast.net

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  14. Jen's stories really touched my heart-thank you so much for sharing.And I think that necklace would make a perfect present for a special Fiskafriend of ours!

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  15. Oh wow! What a wonderful way to celebrate Christmas and your Nana!

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  16. Thank you for sharing this story with us. Happy holidays!

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  17. Special and personal-thank you Jen for sharing! I am sure I am not alone, but when I unwrap ornaments given to me or made for me I always think so fondly of the person I received them from--but even more when I come across the few my mom made--they are just so very, very special because: first she is no longer alive, second, she doesn't celebrate Christmas and made them for me anyway, and third, she is my mom.

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  18. Gorgeous gift idea!

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  19. Jen, thank you for sharing your truly beautiful story with all of us! The gift box and gift are so very pretty! Great work, and have a wonderful Christmas!

    Debby, thank you for another inspirational day!

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  20. Jen, I so enjoyed reading about your special tradition and how it has developed over the years. And your art is beautiful! Thank you! And thank you, Debbie, for sharing this wonderful crafter/artist with all of us.

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  21. thanks for sharing your story. Enjoying reading everyones traditions.

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  22. Love hearing Jen's story and what a special way to remember her grandmother. I think the act of giving is wonderful!! TFS

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  23. What beautiful memories you have! I love the idea and your homemade gifts are treasures for sure!

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  24. What a wonderful, loving tradition! I can tell that you cherish the memories of your grandmother. My grandmother's birthday was December 20th. My other grandmother passed at Thanksgiving. Needless to say, my holidays are full of memories of those two wonderful ladies! May the Lord bless your family over the upcoming holidays.

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  25. How specail those dates are> Glad you can pass that down to your kids, love the gift set jen! Thanks for sharing her with us Debby!

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  26. I had a Nana, too! :) Glad you've managed to create a fun tradition out of a loss. I'm sure your Nana would be proud!

    Fiskateer #1135, Veronica (Scrappyrat)

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  27. What a lovely way to honor your Nana. Thanks for sharing such a thoughtful and meaningful family tradition. I love the necklace. I really love it when the gift box becomes a keepsake/gift.

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  28. loved reading your story! awesome tradition!!

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  29. Beautiful story and project :)

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  30. Oh my goodness, I love your story! I have happy tears in my eyes about your mom and your nana and how special they must be!

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  31. wow..very touching story. I love that you still carry the tradition still today. Although you have changed it a bit for the craziness of today's world is to be expected. I have no idea how mom's did the things they did back then.

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  32. Brittany George11:48 AM

    I love the 12 day tradition of showing your family just how much you care. :) It is beautiful.

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  33. Anonymous1:39 PM

    what wonderful traditions and memories you are making...and "way to go" recognizing when you need to change things to keep your sanity! Kellystar#6446

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  34. Told all sponsors thank you on Face Book. Thanks again for the wonderful 12 days!

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  35. Wonderful stores Jen has shared with us.. I love how traditions get started..

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  36. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

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  37. Kam mccallan8:24 PM

    Good for you! The holiday season can be overwhelming for all of us!

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