Monday, January 14, 2013

Homemade Christmas Part 2...

Steve openly despises the commercialism of Christmas. He is a basket case the entire month of December and he mopes around complaining how much he hates this time of year. It feels like I am dealing with a teenager and it's annoying.

There is nothing more frustrating than seeing your husband openly admit he hates buying gifts for you and that gift buying ruins the Christmas season. After too many years of hearing the same sob story we had a heart-to-heart. After last Christmas we determined we could ease his hatred for gifts if we eliminated all expectations. We opted to exchange homemade gifts only this year. We had a year to prepare and think and work and come up with something heartfelt and meaningful. This was the first year we did this and Christmas changed for both of us. Steve was a completely different person throughout the holidays. He never felt as though he had to rush to the store to pick-up something that I would ultimately return. There wasn't the panic three days before that it wasn't enough.

It was simple and meaningful and definitely something we will implement in the future. More than anything I felt Steve's love in the time he took. He felt as though he was at a disadvantage because I am slightly more creative but he came up with some great gifts.

Steve's homemade gifts for me: He knows my love for a nice hot bath and he made bath salts for me. How awesome is that. I've tried them out and love them!

Steve was resourceful - He utilized his sister's jewelry making skills. ( Although he didn't personally make them, he claims that his family can aid in his homemade gifts. I loved all the pieces and couldn't disagree. I especially love the bracelet with my blog name.

This was a big one - Steve converted all of our home videos to digital files on the computer. He's working now to edit them and burn them to DVD. Home videos are the best; its amazing how quickly life changes. Hallie can't get enough of watching herself when she was a baby.

My homemade gifts for Steve:
It was the year of blurb books for me. I made the one for Steve's sister (here) and I made a couple for Steve as well. These are books that I work on all year long. It's so hard for me to keep them a secret when they ship to me in June and September!

I designed our 2008 blog book. (Designed with the blog header we had 5 years ago!) Yes, I'm several years behind but I'm consistently 4 years behind. I keep telling myself this is the year that I'm going to catch up, perhaps this year it will be true.

This is strictly a photo book. Only some of the pictures make the blog and are cataloged in our blog book each year. The other photos sit on my hard drive never to be looked at. So I created a photo book (once again several years behind). I'm not sure if I can really catch up a blog and photo albums in the same year. We'll see how it goes!

This project was a labor of love more than anything. Years ago when I was pregnant with our first child, I started typing the journal Steve kept while he served a two year mission for our church in Peru. Then the birth of our child came and my walls came crumbling down. A project that I knew without a doubt I would have complete by Christmas time was pushed aside as life with a newborn settled in on us. Sadly I gave Steve an incomplete rough draft of his journal which he loved dearly. I was finally in a position to finish that journal this year. I secretly typed away at night as he slept and carefully put the journal back int he same place every night so he wouldn't suspect anything. (I created the cover by searching through boxes to find his original nametag and then using a hanger to hang the suit and tie on. I might like the cover more than the journal itself!)

A project that he thought was long forgotten was finally finished and It's amazing if I do say so myself.

I also took his favorite quote and designed it for a canvas so he can hang it in his office at work. (Although I have access to photo labs to print canvas - I printed this at Costco and it's a fraction of the cost I can get at wholesale from the lab) I also printed off new photos to update his framed photos at work.

That wraps up 2012 homemade Christmas gifts. Time to start thinking of next year!


  1. LOVE that missionary journal cover, wow, what a gift!! Also love that Emerson quote on canvas.

  2. Kara these are all awesome. I would love to surprise Drew with a missionary journal. The cover is amazing. You are such a go getter. I am so impressed! Why didn't we hang out more when we lived closer?

    1. Because we're both go-getters which means we have little time for socializing and spending time with others outside of our projects!!

  3. Such thoughtful gifts. Love the homemade exchange! You are an incredible wife and mother to take the time (tedious as it may be) to do something that will last forever.

  4. Fantastic! Steve did not disappoint. Great heart-felt and time intensive gifts. Your love language for sure!!

  5. Amazing! I absolutely adore the mission journal idea. Wow and so thoughtful.

  6. Kara - These are amazing! Will you tell me what program Steve used to pull the old videos onto the computer? I did it once and I can't figure it out again. You can email me if you

    I love your ideas! they are perfect!

    1. He used the latest version of iMovie. He imported them all in using our videocamera (or imported them in from our iphones) and then was able to arrange them by date or event so he could organize them to burn to DVD. Hope that helps!


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