Matt made these beautiful wood boards (a bread/cheese board and a cutting board) as gifts for our families this Christmas (he also took these photos). His grandfather is an incredible carpenter and has an entire workshop of tools at Matt’s parent’s place. Ollie and Matt spend a good number of hours working on these homemade gifts for Christmas. I went with Matt to the wood store where extensively deliberated which wood to choose, carefully examining the grain, the pores, the colour.
One of Matt’s goals this year is to learn some more carpentry skills from his grandfather. I love this about Matt. I love that he spent hours making these gifts. I love that when my mom opened her bread board on Christmas morning she had NO idea that it was homemade. We waited a good minute to tell her. Matt said that the look on her face was more than worth the time it took to make it. Plus, he enjoyed spending time with Ollie and focusing so intently on one project. Thankfully Matt’s parents were gracious enough to put up with the sounds of saws for hours.
My friends are makers. This Christmas we received homemade Christmas ornaments, bits and bites, mugs, coasters, art. Amanda made me beautiful hand stitched hankies that came in really handy on a cold run the other day.
In a world where faster is better, homemade gifts are rare and costly. Time is pricey. I wonder though if it’s the process of making things that is so special. Each gift has a story behind it. When Matt and I were newly dating he made me a blanket for Christmas. It’s hilarious because it looks like it belongs in a nursery, all pastel colours with monkeys on it. I love the blanket and have used it a lot…and one day maybe it will end up in a nursery. I love that it was made with love and I love that Matt and his Mom made it together.
There is a long running joke in my family that my Mom’s name should be on all of the Christmas presents that “I” make. Sadly, it’s true. Many, many Christmases have involved a little “sweat shop”- often at the last minute where I would cajole my Mom into helping me create something outside of my skill set. Heck, it even happened this year. The end product, besides whatever craft we make, is time well spent. For instance, this year. My mom sewed while I pinned and my brother Evan made coffee only to serve it to me out of some sort of dish/cup made for cream with a spout on it. It turned into family time. Good time. So the homemade gift is what brings everyone together but what really matters is the process of making the gift and more importantly the time spent with ourselves and others. Spending time with my family that morning was one of my favourite memories of the holidays, despite drinking my coffee out of a spout…or perhaps because I did drink the coffee that way.
Homemade isn’t always cheaper financially and never is if you consider the time it takes to create something special. But it leaves us richer, fuller and with more stories to tell. And I love that.