25 December 2008

Have a Very Merry Christmas!

I've been awfully quiet about Christmas this year.  No hyperactivity, no complaining, no frantic rushing around.  (Lots of singing and humming Silver Bells and Rudolph, though.)  Part of it is that I knew I'd be out of town often from the start of the holiday season, so I planned ahead.  Dear Shauna hosted a silkscreening party at her house on Dec. 10, and since I was in town, I made sure I had a plan and was there.  I silkscreened some Illustrator-doodled flower motifs in turquoise ink on these creamy organic soy jersey scarves...

I had never felt soy fabric before, and this knit jersey is just heavenly soft!  I purchased 2 yards and cut the entire length into six 10-inch wide scarves.  I spent A LOT of time cutting right on those ribs to make sure the edges were as smooth as could be, and they came out beautifully.

I also have lived near an Austin store called Bead-It for about 5 years, maybe more, and never once stopped in till a few weeks ago.  I picked up some neat new beads and findings, and having just monkeyed around with jewelry making and beading before, I put together a few little combinations of pendants that I liked.  Sometimes the most important part of the gift-giving, to me, is presentation.  So I drew a young gal on a 3x5 card, punched tiny holes at her shoulders, and cut in to those holes from the side of the card so I could "present" this gift in a manner I was happy with.

Part of me feels a little left out of the holiday stress, but it becomes crystal clear at this late hour that stress-free preparation is a natural extension of our tradition of a stress-free Christmas Day.  Unlike how I was raised, Christmas begins with opening the first present whenever the mood strikes.  Not after a formal breakfast, not when every last family member arrives, not after the perfect family picture has been taken next to the Christmas tree,  but whenever it happens.  Louis shows genuine gratitude for each and every gift by telling the gift-giver what he likes about the gift, and then he plays with it for a good hour or two.  We encourage him to be a gracious gift-giver, too, and to participate in that process appropriately.

Because of this, and because Louis gets a lot of gifts from a large extended family, opening Christmas presents takes several days.  I know this is unusual -- friends whose family's wrapping-paper-ripping frenzy ends inside of 22 minutes marvel over how calm and enjoyable our Christmas mornings are, and family who visit initially assume that low-key means low satisfaction. But that's simply not true.  We've just found one way for our family to de-emphasize the quantity of Christmas and get back to the quality.

I wish you every chance to fully honor your traditions, longstanding or new, as you celebrate this joyous holiday with those you love.  Merry Christmas to you and yours!


  1. We're on the same wavelength twofold:

    1) I have totally been contemplating screen-printing on some knit to make scarves. In my mind, I have a design sloshing around, almost ready to take shape. I love how your scarves turned out... Isn't soy jersey amazing? I like it far more than bamboo, which it's often compared to.

    2) Totally hear you on the low-key Christmas. Josh's mom is horrified that we don't want to participate in the traditional Christmas insanity like he grew up with, but that frenzy just makes both of us crazy. We would rather do something together on Christmas (a long walk, going to a basketball game, work on a project) also, since it's just Josh and I (as well as my mom for dinner)--because we relish that time together. Needless to say, that approach has made some serious waves with the in-laws. If I were a parent, I would take a similar approach to yours, and like what my mom did with me--it's healthier, and so much more fun. I remember thinking kids at school were so weird as they "inventoried" their gifts and compared notes when school got back in session after break.

    Sorry for the lengthy comment, but that's just my way of saying, "Right on!"


  2. I love your scarves! I hope you had a Merry Christmas, your way sounds delightful!

  3. soy jersey sounds fabulous and Louis is a very lcuky kid...he has a really smart mama. Hope you had a great Christmas....

  4. My family also do not follow some tradition when it comes to opening gifts. My MIL, however, wanted us to take pics of each gift opened, but I quickly and kindly put a stop to that. Two years ago, I succumbed to my mom and MIL, and ended up with tons of pics that now do not mean anything. Before I go, I have to say, you draw pretty cool.

  5. what a lovely sentiment! I am totally on board with the idea of honoring one's own traditions... and I will quote you (I hope you don't mind) when it comes to "deemphasizing quatity in favor of quality." bravo!

  6. I just adore the presentation of the necklace--I will definitely do that the next time I give a necklace. You are so gosh darn creative! I wish I thought of that!!!


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