Crafting was a big part of our Christmas tradition when I was a child growing up. My earliest Christmas memories include painting christmas tree ornaments my parents cut out of 1/8″ thick plywood – and then once the paint was dry attaching sequins of various shapes and strips of gold ric-rac to decorate the tree. I also made wrapping paper, plaster of paris plaques, and trivets for gifts. These I gave to family members with much pride.

Crafting stuck with me through the years as a central part of my Christmas tradition though my crafting turned more toward quilting and away from other types of crafting as I reached adulthood and became focused on quilting. More years than not I have made most, if not all, of my Christmas gifts. It’s something that feels good…that makes me feel centered in the midst of all the busyness of the holiday season…and an added plus is that it saves me from having to buy gifts which I am really not very good at. It’s not that I don’t see things that people will like…it’s that I see too many things they will like and it is overwhelming to choose just one or two items.

This year I did end up buying gifts for the older kids in the family…but I focused my gifting on craft kits which the kids have really been enjoying working with the past 6 months or so. I took the kids to Hobby Lobby to buy things to make for Christmas gifts a few months back and they had a lot of fun picking out Perler beads, which remain a favorite project, and coloring and painting projects. It seemed like they just suddenly got the crafting bug…and now that they have it they REALLY have it…which I think is GREAT!

The joy of the season has been magnified for me this year because of the added joy of passing the Christmas tradition of crafting on to another generation. My nieces and nephew did some crafting when they were young, but I lived geographically distant during much of their childhoods and so didn’t get as much chance to participate in their crafting experiences at Christmas time as much as I would have liked. They did visit me in the summer and all of them made quilts during their visits and had a good time joining my sewing and quilting circle and attending quilt guild. Not being at all shy they enjoyed sharing their creations with the groups.

My nieces and nephew are grown now…all except for 1 who is growing up quickly as she rapidly approaches her teen years. Most are in their 20’s…some pushing 30…with kids of their own…. For the most part, the kids are the generation you see pictured in this post.

In any case, this year seems to be the year that my great nieces and great nephews really got into crafting in a big way. It happened suddenly…about six months ago when their mom let them color in an “adult” coloring book. Somehow that was different for them than coloring in a child’s coloring book…and once they were coloring adult coloring books the door was open and they wanted to make all sorts of other things.

Given their growing interest in crafting and the long line of crafting tradition, we’ve embraced some new traditions this year with extended family gatherings focused around crafting around the holidays.

Christmas Eve Day family gathered. The kids made sand art projects…which for some reason I forgot to photograph before they took them home.

This past weekend we gathered again and did a big variety of projects.

The boys had a great time putting together and painting wooden race cars that they got for Christmas. The cars glued together fairly simply and once they were dry could be painted and then stickered up with stickers that came in the kit. The race cars seemed to be a big hit with the boys…and there are still two more cars for each of them to make at another time, so the wooden car project was a good one.

Gotta love the Captain America and Spiderman costumes which they saved to the dress up box after Halloween and wore throughout the day as they painted racecars, sun catchers, made Perler bead projects.

The girls enjoyed playing with a nail art kit that my sister got for them.

And of course, there was time for a bit of play with the electronics too. Zac and Livi enjoyed time together in the super sized play yard that I picked up for Addy and Livi to use when they visit…though they spent a lot of time toddling around outside the playpen too.


Though we’ve not really had our gift giving gathering yet – it was delayed again because of weather that kept my parents from attending – I did break down and give the kids some of their toys. The wooden racecars were one of the boys’ gifts. The girls got 11,000 piece sets of beads. Oh joy!

Actually, they did a fantastic job of keeping them off the floor and of putting them away when they were done playing with them.

The two babies got quilts this year. Here are the pictures of the babies on their respective quilts. You can read more about Addy’s quilt here and about Livi’s quilt here.

Grown ups got potholders, though they got out of here before I got a chance to take pictures of the lot of them. Here are the few that remain.

Now that I’ve given away most of the gifts I have for this year I am feeling at once a sense of calm and peace, but also an eagerness to dive into next year.

I think one of the things we will be doing more of this year are the family gatherings with a crafting focus. It’s fun to see the younger generation picking up that tradition and it’s fun for the older generation to pick it up again too. Crafting makes a nice focus to form a gathering around.

We’ve talked some about possibly changing our gifting practices next year–from giving gifts to everyone in the family to maybe drawing numbers or perhaps having some kind of a gift exchange with a game…there are a few of those on the internet which I’ve been researching. I may blog about that more later as I hope next year to be ready for Christmas BEFORE the day. Of course, saying that at the start of each year is a tradition as old as the crafting tradition…and though I may have managed to be ready ahead of time once or twice in 50+ years, it’s usually not the case.

I’m now busy looking into other kinds of craft projects that are kid friendly. I did pick up some foam art kits this year. And some paint your own canvas kits. But the bakeable clay, polymer clay, and Shrinky Dinks offer a lot of interesting craft project ideas for kids too. I’d love to hear about any fun kids crafts that you’ve found.

This post shared at Turn It Up Tuesday