There are moments when you realize the plans you've made aren't going to work. I had one of those moments this weekend when I sat down to make ornaments with the boys. The dinosaur ornament kit I'd planned to use was too complicated for them to do, especially with the pre-Christmas jittery-wiggly-pants they both had. Time for plan B, except I really didn't have a plan B.
For me, there is a certain stubbornness that goes along with my frugality. Its part "no, damn it, I can find a way to do this" and part "f---you" (not a very Christmassy admission but its true). My mother lovingly called this quality of mine "motivation" when I was a teen. (Once again I say, sorry Mom!) Whatever you want to call it, it gets me into sticky situations every now and again but it also helps me bail out of the same situations too.
No matter how down to the wire I find myself, I will not make/give/buy crap. Function ranks pretty high on my list of things I look for in a gift, even when planning ones my kids will give. An ornament is a good gift from a child because it has a purpose and a place to go. Its also small and takes up very little additional space.
Once the original ornament idea fell through, I went for a dig in the craft closet and discovered a stash of potholders that date back to a holiday project several years ago. In my opinion, potholders are another good gift because I frequently ruin mine and I suspect strongly that I'm not the only one. (Honestly, who hasn't turned the stove on with a potholder on the burner or dropped on on the oven element while taking something out?)
A little more digging revealed green, black, blue, red and purple fabric paint, as well as, 3 unpainted, wooden Christmas tree ornaments. The boys looked at me with anticipation and I dove right in. (Who says improv is reserved for late nights in smoky dive bars?)
Rob was assigned to draw wreaths on seven of the pot holders and Christmas trees on the other seven. Kyle was in charge of painting the trees and wreaths green. While Kyle did this, Rob began painting the wooden ornaments. Once the ornaments dried, Rob added blobs of glue which we sprinkled with glitter to make balls. (If you have several colors of glitter like we did, only put a few glue blobs down at a time and sprinkle them with glitter. Repeat this with each color of glitter and you can create different colored balls.)
Kyle added different colored balls (or maybe they were lights) to each of his wreaths/trees using the other fabric paints. We did this one color at a time as well. It seems to keep the mess down to a minimum. I helped by adding painted bows to the wreaths but Kyle put the stars on the trees. Rob also made a beaded Christmas tree pin that was a real pain in the tush to do. It was a joy to see both boys so deep in their projects. They worked hard and were rightfully proud of the results. Their efforts made the whole process fun for me. This morning, now that everything is dry, my little artists will sign their work.
The point of this post is not to brag about how creative I am (I'm not!)or how saintly my kids are(they're not!). The point that I take away from this is, if a child, the same ones that all the commercials on tv are marketed to, can feel the joy of creating and giving simple gifts from the heart, then shouldn't we as adults be able to do the same?
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to All!