“Homemade Holiday” aka Fodder for Therapists

Two words changed the holiday season for me. Two words that are about to give my children years of fodder for therapists, energy practitioners, rebirthers, and other helping professionals. These two words were, “Homemade Holiday.”

Just a few short weeks ago, and I mean like last week, the eldest son, aka Ben, suggested we have a “Homemade Holiday” with each of us making gifts for one another. In a moment of pure insanity, I agreed. I don’t know exactly why we were considered a quorum- after all there are six of us, but Ben and I made this decision without taking it to a vote. Suddenly all four children, Jim, and I were making each other presents.

You can see the fodder for therapists building already, can’t you?

To explain our rash decision, let me say in my defense that at the moment Ben made the suggestion, I was flooded with memories of childhood holidays in which I did crafts up in my bedroom. Dollhouse furniture held together with hot glue and masking tape, pomander balls moldering in a big bowl of cinnamon, knitted mittens with problem thumb gussets. Once I made coconut macaroons, but left out the coconut because I wasn’t a fan of coconut.

Standards were low and I cheerfully met them.

One of many problems with all these rosy memories was that I failed to realize it was like twelve minutes to Christmas Eve when Ben and I made our little plan. Additionally, there was the problem of actually having to work while simultaneously crafting.

When I had pigtails, I had time for leisurely crafting I was always making things up in my room. It was my signature activity. I probably had a stockpile of ornaments ready six months in advance of any holiday. I was a child prodigy of crafting and had Martha Stewart been out there, she would have had me on one of her TV specials.

Additionally, when I was a pig tailed waif poised for Martha Stewart Living, I didn’t have a fourteen year old son named Will who complained that none of the other children had suffered a “Homemade Christmas” when they were teenagers.

He had a point. He joined the family just as everyone ran out of steam for just about everything and some holidays his stocking has looked a bit peaked compared to say, the stocking that greeted first child Ben. In fact, someone rightly remembered that whereas toddler Ben actually got store bought presents, with toddler Will we just wrapped up stuff he already had and let him rip away at the wrapping paper.

But back to the present. There is no pitter patter of little feet this holiday because everyone has taken their big feet into seclusion to work on their projects. Ben doesn’t even seem to have time to answer the phone.

And for some bizarre reason (the main reason that is going to get my three younger children into round the clock therapy come January), I decided to tackle Ben’s present first. Once again, in my defense, he was the creator of “Homemade Holiday 2009” so I thought he merited my first craft effort.

Sadly, it was not an easy recipe for coconut free coconut macaroons. Sadly, I took on a project so labor intensive that Grandma Moses would have found it a challenge.


I decided to make Ben a braid rug. Have you ever made a braid rug? You can work for a week and have something that would barely cover a toilet seat.

Night after night, I cut strips of wool, braided them, then sewed them in a slowly growing circle. After a small eternity, I had a rug the size of a trash can lid. Meanwhile, nothing else was being crafted for the other members of the family. They watched me burn the midnight oil beavering away on Ben’s rug while they kept notes for their first therapy sessions in January, “My mother definitely loves Ben best.”

When the rug got to be a size that most people would recognize as a rug of some sorts, maybe one for small cats, I called it quits.

It was time to make deals with everyone else. First I told Jim to forget it. He could wait ’til his February birthday or beyond for any craft love from me. I also told Lizzy I was going to have to give her some sort of coupon for a project to be completed at a later date. She took it well. As I started to scramble to get something done for Emily, I also opted to cook some high volume goodies for Will to make it seem like there was actually something under the tree for him .

Sadly, what was meant to be an enormous tin of Caramel Corn for Will became a modest ziploc baggie of Caramel Corn because Will found the four trays of Caramel Corn I made for him and ate three of them. To his credit, he did ask me if I was saving the Caramel Corn for anyone. What could I say, “This is your main Christmas present.”

It’s really pathetic isn’t it? All I can say is, “Thank God for Santa.” He better come through for me this year because there are some serious present gaps to be filled. Let’s just hope he can wield a hot glue gun with the best of us crafters, but has more time management skills than me.

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