Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Christmas Angels

Under the Mad Hat put up a post last week about what she was making for Christmas, and asked her readers to tell her what they were doing. Rather than load up her comments, I decided to talk about Christmas presents here.

We all know what Little Stuff is getting for Christmas -- a three foot long recumbent stuffed moose, courtesy of her grandfather's having gone a bit nuts at the Christmas Auction. What she's getting from me is a set of wooden alphabet letters that spell her name, on wheels and pulled by a small wooden engine. At present, the first coat of paint is on and I need to get them sanded down and the second coat applied. Then I will paint tiny flowers, butterflies and other colourful designs onto them. I have pewter paint for the wheels. And that's it for stuff I am making this year.

In other years my long suffering family has received paintings I made, dolls clothes (from baby dolls to Barbies), caftans, crewel wall hangings, ditsy Christmas ornaments, photo montages, and on and on. I love to make things. This year the gifts are somewhat utilitarian. (If my daughters are reading this, I urge them to stop. Now.) One of them needs new kitchen cutlery and the other, kitchen dishes. I am buying Canadian, which I always try to do. I also try to buy locally, if possible, from craftspeople in the area. One of my neighbours, for instance, makes spectacular turned wooden bowls. If I do gift baskets, it's all local and highly slanted toward maple sugar products or cheese.

But the shopping that I do for fun is for 'Christmas Tree Angels'. Local kids whose parents are having trouble putting a Christmas together for them are identified by a local organization* and their age, size and two wished for gifts written onto a paper angel. I collect one angel for each of my parents and two aunts whom I loved and who were very good to me. Then I assign an angel to each one and go off to look for what I think that each one of them would buy for the child.

This year my aunt who was an art teacher has been assigned a teenaged boy who 'loves to draw', and today I put together a kit of a portfolio drawing pad, a case of varied pencils and the bits and pieces my aunt taught me how to use -- kneaded eraser, conté crayon, that kind of thing. For my parents I chose a pair of sisters who need clothes and I bought them each a set of pajamas and lovely pink fuzzy dressing gowns. (I'm not sure my Dad is really into the pink fuzzy bit, but he can choose the toys to go with the clothes.) My other aunt's child is another little girl -- this aunt was a very dressy, well groomed woman and I think she would have enjoyed the incredible array of Barbie clothes.

I have never been comfortable with In Memoriam commemoration of the day of death, and so I came up with this way to remember my family with love and joy, and also to pass along a bit of the happiness they gave me for so many Christmases.

* This one is close to us, but the one I work from is actually at the Community Health Centre


  1. What cool and *thoughtful* gifts. That's just awesome.

    And the gifts in memory/from your family...that's a wonderful idea.

    Happy crafty holidays to you!

    Using My Words

  2. what a great way to celebrate someone's memory.

    I have always wanted a friend who made a painting for me. Actually... I do have one piece of artwork made by a fellow I did a play for... he made a small piece for everyone in the cast... specific to their character. I treasue it.

  3. Please, pretty please, post a picture of the train when it is done. It sounds so very beautiful.