Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holiday time!

It's December 1st, so it seems appropriate to turn the talk to things that sparkle and smell like cinnamon and evergreens. Or, if you're me, the things I keep in that storage closet in my house that has never lost the New Carpet Smell. I look forward to digging out the things that I or my family have made over the years to decorate for Christmas... something about the season just makes me more sentimental than, say, July 4th.

One of my favorite things to put up is a advent calendar that my mom made for me when my first child was small, a replica (mostly) of the one she made when I was little and which hung in our house during December every year. My siblings and I eagerly awaited our turn to pick an ornament from the selection and put it on the tree each day, counting down to Christmas eve. Except for Erin... she was practically an only child by the time she was 7 since the rest of us were "all grown up", so she got to put ALL the ornaments on. Lucky. She also got to design the Halloween Jack-O-Lantern all by herself... unlike we Original Three, who had to actually compete to see who got to have their brilliant artistic stylings carved into the gourd. I believe it's due to the emotional scarring those Halloween contests left on my psyche that I buy all three of my kids pumpkins at Halloween... I mean, they're only $4.00 each, right???

Oh, sorry... got off track a little... breathe...

So, back to the calendar... each little ornament is made from several colors of felt, and adorned with sequins and beads and tiny little woven trims. So tedious detailed! There are wise men and angels and snowmen, candy canes, stockings, a candle... pretty much anything you would associate with the season. You can imagine how excited I was when, while sorting through mom's belongings after she died, I found a plastic bag full of felt scraps, trims, and tiny little patterns for the advent tree ornaments! My oldest daughter has a little girl now, and it won't be long before I'll have to make time to create a calendar for her. I'm not sure if I'll recreate it exactly, or put my own spin on it by using some vintage fabrics... I guess I'll ask her what she prefers.

Along with the holiday decorating traditions, I'm also trying to "shop small" this year. I purchased a couple of things online, but from small independent companies, and I have been making lists of things I want to get for others that can be found locally and (hopefully) from small businesses. A perfect opportunity to get some things knocked off my list will be at the many holiday markets happening near me this weekend.

I'm a vendor at a new craft show, The Little Craft Show, happening at Vintage Fellowship in Fayetteville on Saturday, so you know I'll be checking out the awesomeness there. It's a small event with 25 local folks selling handmade goodies, vintage treasures, and also some yummy treats and music. Come out and help make it an annual affair! If you can't be there this weekend, take a short trip over to Tulsa on the 17th to The Alliday Show. There will be more handmade and vintage vendors there, and I'm thrilled to be able to be a part of it this year.

There is also the annual Holiday Market at the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks happening Saturday, which features crafters and others from the Fayetteville Farmers' Market. There will be fresh greenery for decorating, handmade pottery, soaps, and more for giving, and probably a few things that you may need to just stick under the tree for yourself.

Take some time to get your hands busy this year and make something special to decorate your home, or for the people on your gift list. Or, support local folks by buying what they made instead. The handmade things you pull out of the closet each year will become your favorite things to put on the entry table or mantle, I promise.

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